Thursday, September 07, 2006

Matter in the life of a child

Wow. So I'm up and cheery and good and check my e-mail because I've been having these great correspondences with (now) college students about their writing assignments and since some of them are three hours ahead I figure I'll have messages. And I do! I respond, then decide to blog the philosophical part. And I want to start it with the poem that inspired me through my teaching career, and I know it's on the front page of my school website. So I go there. And I'm not even on the list anymore. Which makes perfect sense, except that they never did update the websites so well before... but I guess to save people the journalism confusion... but wow. I wish I could cut them out of my life so easily. Just highlight and push delete, but no.... I still have books and posters and paperwork. I should definitely get rid of more school stuff. And I should definitely not let this observation keep my heart plunged into the depths of despair (or at least teetering on the high dive and dangerously close to belly flopping into the deep end). I should go back to thinking about my wonderful wonderful former students and how I have mattered in the life of a child--and it doesn't matter what website I'm on to prove that--their ongoing communication with me is enough.

You see, I got to help TWO of them last night with their writing assignments . And they're in COLLEGE now. And I had them as SOPHOMORES in high school, when they were fifteen and gangly and confused about so much stuff they didn't even realize it. I tortured them in honors English and journalism, pushed them and pushed them and pushed them because I knew there was more in these two especially, and I so wanted them to find it.

And now here they are. Writing past the level of their peers (at least the one who is going to a Journalism School--we already know because of Facebook (ah technology!)) I haven't seen the other's peers' writing--and writing with style and flair and an obvious love for the written word and the subject. And they're asking me about it. ME!

I had to blog it so that later, when I again start to wonder about whether my life is worth anything, I can remember that to some people I do matter. Some people do need me. Sure, they could get advice elsewhere, and I'm sure they do, but they ask me too. And the honor is all mine.

There's a line in the poem about one of the ways to have success by leaving the world a healthy child. I may never give birth to a child. But I have to believe that in the decade I have spent working officially as an educator I have helped some of those kids make healthy choices, and I have to believe that counts for something. Something important.

I smile now--every last day I saw them before the weekend, I'd leave them with this sentiment: "Have a good weekend! Be safe! Make good decisions!" Sometimes they'd laugh and tell me I sounded like their mom. I'd say, "Thank you," and smile at them.

And now I have to find that poem somewhere else online since I've been deleted.

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