I saw it on their faces. It was something I often “wore” on my face at times when I really want something so bad. Some call it hunger. Others call it passion. Still, some call it drive. I saw it on my Grade 11s’ faces one afternoon during one of those cheer dance practice sessions.
I do not know what drives them to do well during practices but I have been proud of this fact and I tell them this that during their practices I am happy to note that most of them cooperate, follow our choreographer’s instructions and even think of ways to improve our dance. If they could only see what I see from the bleachers or from the back when they practice.
As someone who believes that nothing should be done half-hearted, I was fascinated by that passionate look on their faces. I have always believed that an individual’s actions, choices and decisions should be driven by passion. A passion to see change, a passion for excellence, a passion for God and to know Him more, a passion to serve others.
The grade 11s do not know this but every time I watch them practice, they – unknowingly – teach me. This afternoon I was struck by several of them who said something very simple and probably random to them but for me spoke volumes. They – in different versions – told me “Miss, you got to always speak positively or build us up because we need it.”
These kids (they will always be kids to an adviser) are very creative, talented, thoughtful, smart and witty but like any other young person or perhaps any adult, need positive, kind, encouraging words to show them that they have what it takes to go out there and win it.
This afternoon I learned that we can never be positive or encouraging enough. We have to constantly say it out loud and over their lives. Young people need to hear it and hear it often. They need to hear that they are good and great and are loved in spite of their frailties, quirks and mistakes. JUST LIKE US, TEACHERS.
I think the looming end of school year (EOSY) season is making me maudlin these days because it has made me look back to the vision I made back in June when classes first started and I wrote a class vision for myself and for my class. I started with the end in mind. Unfortunately, I got so caught up with my personal issues, ambition, a desire to do something greater and beyond what I have right now that I forgot what I was called to do. God called me NOT ONLY TO TEACH BUT, FIRST AND FOREMOST, TO LOVE.
As I always say, “to teach is to love”. My grade 11s and my 7th graders taught me how it is to be given second chances when one messes up, to be forgiven in spite of our faults and they have constantly reminded me of God’s love.
This afternoon these 16/17 year olds again reminded me about something I momentarily lost this school year because of the daily grind, paper work and all my other issues and that is passion and hunger. I lost a bit of my joy and passion along the way but thank God He restored it bit by bit this time.
So to my grade 11s, go out there and give it your all. No half-hearted moves. Only 101% not only on the dance floor but in everything that you do. To me, you will always be the best team this Saturday. 🙂