(and parents, grandparents, and
anyone else interested in education)
Several years ago I heard eighth graders from a tiny Tennessee town south of Nashville describe their journey through a study of the Holocaust. They created a lasting memorial and unique experiences for many others, even outside of the United States. They set up a museum to showcase the millions of paper clips they collected to symbolize the 6 million Jews and other minorities who were killed in the Holocaust. Follow this link to learn more about the Paper Clip Museum.
One spring my teaching partners and I took our 8th graders south to Whitwell, Tennessee after we completed a study of The Diary of Anne Frank. Two chartered busloads of students who only knew inner city Nashville or large complexes of low-income housing rolled into this town without red lights. Many of our students had never been outside of Nashville, and most had never been to rural Tennessee.
When we unloaded the buses, our students took a much needed restroom break in the middle school’s restrooms. Much to the chaperones dismay a few of our boys scared the fifth grade boys in the same restroom with their language and tough city-bravado. Word spread among the chaperones that we were asked to keep our students away from the restrooms.
I got a voicemail a few days ago from one of those 8th grade teachers that refreshed my memory of that incident. A parent of one of those rude boys ran into my colleague with an update on his life after 8th grade.
This young man survived high school, graduated, joined the Marines, is now a corporal, and stationed in Afghanistan. His mother says that he attributes his success to his experiences on our eighth grade team.
We just never knew with our middle schoolers. Sometimes we would privately predict success or failure, but we in a big city school system it was easy to lose track of “our kids”. But how we love to be surprised with successes still today.
When I read Ann Voskamp’s blog on “Dear You . . . “, I was reminded of this incident. Her words are true not just for teachers but anyone who strives to live a life on the principles of the Good News.
You’ve got to remember: we don’t know when and how we are leaving the greatest marks on the world. It all matters.
Believe it: Every tremor of kindness might erupt in a miracle on the other side of the world.
And the only way to ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself — and this will hurt. Things of realest beauty don’t bring us glory — but Him glory.
Everything matters in your daily walk, in the children you touch, in your casual and important interactions. Read the rest of her post — her words always touch me deeply.
I am thankful for teachers who touch lives by their examples, their words, and their courage.
Father, bless them all, the children and the adults.
For a related post for teachers, see “A Prayer for Teachers, 2014“