Goodness, I love these kids. My heart grows like the Grinch’s almost every time I see them outside of classes. Tonight, we attended their hockey game. A couple parents knew I was there, and we were waiting after the game to see the boys. I congratulated each of my students as they came out, and each was the same. Initially, he gave an automatic, ‘Thanks!’ glancing my way. And then, after already starting to turn away, he double-takes, looking at me, wide-eyed. Then his face breaks into a smile and he asks some version of, ‘What are you doing here?!’ with immense glee. One even ran over to hug me – it was adorable, to say the least.
As my friend mentioned during the game was her experience, I do not have many memories of my own teachers attending my various events. So, I suppose it really is a rather big deal that I show up to all these games and performances for the kids. As my mom put it, it’s spectacular free entertainment, but it still would be great, even if it did cost to attend. However, there certainly is the added bit of being invested in the players and performers themselves, knowing them as people, and wanting the best for them in their lives. I want them to feel encouraged in these endeavors, valued and appreciated for all their work and dedication, and even in their failures. I want them to know that they are valued as people, exactly as they are, no matter how well they perform (or behave) in the classroom.
And the love they express in response is spectacularly filling and delightful. I am extremely grateful that I get to work with, support, educate, and cheer on these wonderful kids. Thank you, God. And Amen.