A Moment, A Girl, A Teacher
In 2013 I wrote a post called A Moment, A Boy, A Teacher that described the sort of moment that happens in LSS Childcare and Education Services each day. As I was thinking about love and what I would post for Valentine’s Day I witnessed another everyday moment that I will remember.
A staff person at one of our After-School programs was wiping the tears of a fourth grade girl. As I walked by I heard her remind the student that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and that she’d do better next time. I slowed my walk to see if my help was needed. The girl explained that she felt as though she always made mistakes and that she always would. As the staff person took her hands and looked into those gorgeous little watery eyes I felt my own eyes getting a little soggy. Our incredible staff member looked into those 4th grade eyes and made the sort of list that every little girl should have. She told her that she is valuable. She listed times that the student was noticed being caring or helpful. She talked about her intelligence and creativity. The teacher smiled as she recounted a Summer Program talent show performance that allowed the student to shine. The student began to smile too. She reminded the little girl that she works hard to do well and that her hard work is important. The staff person told the student that her smile is part of the reason she loves to come to work each day.
Her words were precious but the love I saw in the staff person’s eyes wasn’t what struck me the most. I have to confess that sometimes I take the love of the amazing team I get to work with for granted. They love the youth we serve or they wouldn’t be doing this job. It was what I noticed when the pair walked away that took my breath away. After wiping 4th grade tears and building up a broken heart, the staff person invited the student to help her with a project. The pair walked away hand in hand and I heard the staff person say, “I make mistakes too sometimes.” The young girl looked up at her after-school teacher and I saw love in her little eyes too. She was looking up at her role model both literally and figuratively. That was what grabbed my heart. The little girl saw that the smart, beautiful, kind, creative, thoughtful person that she looks up to was human too. I can only imagine that those compliments from someone our student admires so much mean even more.
Thanks to these two, I promise to:
- see myself as loved and valuable even when I make a mistake.
- notice what the people around me do right and remind them when they need it.
- look up to others and be someone they can look up to.
- be willing to fail in front of others so that they feel safe to fail as well.
- notice love.
Always in Awe,
Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services