Kids amaze me. Every single day, I see children do things they never knew they could do. I see wonderful, loving teachers empowering and encouraging kids to find their voice and their confidence to shine. I sometimes pause and reflect on the many challenges our children face in today’s society. There is so much more influence, pressure, and negativity than when I was a little girl. I didn’t have the easiest childhood, because my family always had financial struggles. We didn’t have much, but I was loved, empowered, nurtured, and given a future story by my mother and father. I was always a dreamer, and still am today.
I see what children are exposed to today, and it amazes me how resilient and remarkable they truly are! These little people in this big world that wants them to grow up faster than they should…I worry about them every day. For that reason, our school believes in kids as leaders. They are young, but we are raising them as a community to realize their potential. Their voices are so powerful, and they resonate with me each and every school day.
This is Grace. I’ve had the honor to watch her grow for almost three years now. She will be leaving our school to begin her new journey as a middle school student, and she is ready. You may wonder why she is dressed in ABUs.
Halloween? Career Day? Costume Party?
Not even close.
Grace is a member of a military family. We have many in our community, and lots of military children fill our school. This alone gives Grace my praise, because being a child of a military guardian isn’t easy. Children worry about their loved ones. They miss them when they are away on assignment or deployment. They have levels of stress that I cannot understand, but I can empathize.
Today, Grace is my hero.
A while back, Grace approached me one morning (after my daily tight squeeze hug that we have shared every day we are both at school…for almost three years now) and said she had to ask me something important. She had her beautiful smile on, so I knew it was something she was thrilled about. She explained to me that a close friend of their family was recently deployed for several months. She said how much they would miss him while he was away. She went on to ask for my approval to wear ABUs every Friday until their friend returned home safely. She explained that she knew it was different because we only dress up on ‘special days’ at school.
I wanted to cry. I didn’t, but I wanted to. There is no way in the world I could say no to that request! We agreed that it was a fantastic idea, and that she could explain to her classmates and friends so they would understand her purpose. On the surface, she is Grace who came to school dressed up. One the inside, she is Grace, the young lady who is sharing a message with our school about the importance of remembering our military who serve for us, even when they have to be far away from our sight.
Fridays at Central will be a little more special from now until her friend returns. I hope I get an opportunity to meet him when he does. As of right now, I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from kids every day. They have a way of reminding us of what truly matters.
All we have to do is listen to them.
Thank you for such a beautiful testimonial about Grace. It’s true we learn from our young students some deep life lessons that fuel our courage to serve them always better. Yesterday, I had this 6th grade writing about his dream to become a brave soldier and his sorrow for diabetes I will not allow you to fullfil his dream. Today I listened to a 7th grader who carefully choses all the free time he can use to be with his young father who is dying from cancer. Yes, our students are the heros of our hearts.
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