Right before Spring Break, my school celebrated “March Gladness” which I totally made fun of but I guess March Gladness had the last laugh. The day before break, we all had to teach a lesson that we wanted to teach. Throw the curriculum out the window for the day.
I taught a lesson where we watched a video from 60 minutes about the Harlem Promise School and then the kids wrote a response, we talked about it, and then I showed them all about college. They knew shockingly very little about it. We got in to the conversation that when you are born into poverty, you hear very little positive language and a ton of negative language. I told them that each and every one of them could go to college and we talked about financial aid and scholarships and loans and first generation clubs to help them when it seems too hard. You can tell no one had ever told them all this before.
Now , let’s jump forward to my time with my nephews this week, a two year old, and a four year old. While we were in the car, Fin (4 years old) was telling me that if I wanted to try to walk on the clouds, I shouldn’t because I would just ,”bloop, fall right through.” I asked him what he thought they felt like and he said, “Actually, I don’t think they feel like anything.”
On our way back from playing, I asked “Finley, did you have a good day? ” “Cole, did you have a good day?” A couple seconds later, Cole (2 years old) said, “Tisten, you have dood day?”
Here’s the difference between these boys and the majority of my students: parenting. Fin and Cole have two parents who love them dearly, engage them in conversation regularly, and already tell them cool stories about college as if they are going for sure. My students hear very little from their parents, and when they do hear something, it’s often negative. I’m so grateful that God has placed me in their lives to show them how much He loves them as much as I can and to show them they can break the cycle. This is , of course, when I’m not yelling, “How many times do I have to tell you? You come in the room, you grab your journal, you sit in your seat, directly in your seat, not walking around like you own the place, and you start your warm-up. It is now April, you know what you need to do.” Hey, we all need structure in our lives, don’t we?