My student teacher aide, Minna, was standing outside my door before the start of eighth period as my seventh period class was departing on Friday. I told her,
"I love it when they are happy leaving."
I thought that might be a poor way to word it so I tried once more.
"I love it when they are happy when they leave."
Not sure if attempt number two was any better than number one but I think Minna got the intent. Many in the Gospels class, all juniors, straggled out and some just flat out acted as if they didn't want to leave. They were talking about their in-class writing assignment which some were still working on as the bell rang. It was something we do every year, writing a blessing to their unborn child. We started the period with putting the memory verse of the day on paper, Numbers 6:24-26, more commonly known as The Blessing Of Aaron. I showed two short film clips from CBS News' On The Road segment. Then, I told them about my folks' tradition when we were young of tucking us in, praying with us, and telling us they loved us. I read four examples of seniors of the class of 2010 doing the same assignment- reprinted below- and set them free to write. And they loved it.
I was taken aback when Tucker asked me if he could take out his phone and take a picture of what he wrote. Since I rarely return papers, I gladly gave permission. Others asked to do the same- no problem. Several of them asked if they could turn theirs in but re-write them as they were not satisfied- I was honored. You get the drift. They were gabbing about the thoughts they had penned to the little boy or girl who won't be born for several years at the earliest. Musically speaking, popular songs featuring words of advice from parents tend to be angry (Father And Son by Cat Stevens) or boyfriend tips like The Shirelles' Mama Said. These gems were much deeper and often contained spiritual depth not often associated with teens, although maybe that is simply underestimating the demographic. The mood of my students' reminded me of two Biblical references. The first is David's beginning to Psalm 122:
"I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD."
I'm well aware that David was speaking of the temple in Jerusalem but for a moment, I caught what might be just a sliver of his joy.
The second would be Peter's exclamation to Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17 and verse 4:
“Lord, it is good for us to be here."
I believe the kids really had a glimpse of closeness as a class and with me as they went on to 8th period- they were glad they had been there. Sometimes as teachers, we wonder if it is worthwhile. It was Friday. We'll see about tomorrow.
BLESSINGS WE READ FROM THE CLASS OF 2010
"Goodnight my sweetheart. I love you with all my heart. Even though the night is dark, don't be scared; mommy will always be with you and protect you like God is always with us and protects us and forgives us. So rest now, my little treasure. I love you."
Bella, grade 12
"My dear sweet angel; lay your head, rest your eyes, and be thankful God allowed you to see another day. I am so thankful I have you in my life. Do not be afraid to come to me when you cry as I will welcome you with open arms. I thank God for everyday and pray that He allows you to see another. You are His gift to me and I cherish you like no other. I love you, princess. Sweet dreams and goodnight."
Cameron, grade 12
"My son, you are the prince to my throne. I am thankful that God has blessed me with you. I want you to promise me that you will never give up. You are a vessel full of power and the Lord is going to use you as He has used me. I love you and will never stop loving you. I want you to carry the blessing of the name "Beadle" with honor and pride but humbly submitting to others with respect. Always strive, not to be the best, but to do your best. I am proud of you and I love you.
Deandre, grade 12
My dear angel, I hope you dream of everything that you ever want to accomplish and believe that dreams do come true everyday. God will always be there to guide you, and will never lose sight of you. You have many people in this world that love and cherish you. So, whenever you have a day when you feel like you just want to breakdown, know that me and your dad will always be right by your side and God is there watching over you. Believe in yourself and believe that dreams do come true everyday. I love you always and forever.
Veronica. grade 12
Applicable quote of the day:
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org