Each Wednesday I am blessed to be able to visit Meghan's classroom full of second graders. I used to come to help, but now that she has a student teacher, my job is to basically be the "Grandmother" to a delightful group of children. I love my job.
So today Mrs. Hein had lunch bunch...a reward system that selects children to have lunch with the teacher. I always bring a special something for the teacher and I, and treats for the cutest kids ever.
Lunch bunch usually begins with shy giggles as children try to find seats near the teacher they adore. With a few bites of food and lots of smiles we ask each other questions and the funny responses warm my heart. Isaiah tells us that his Dad lives on an island, and then quickly walks to the globe to point out where. When he points to the Bahamas, I share with him that I have been been there. He asks "did you see a black guy...that is my Dad". I am thankful for his sweet and innocent heart. One of the little girls is celebrating her birthday. This is the same child whose family is being investigated by CPS. Mrs. Hein asks her if she will have a birthday cake and she shyly shakes her head to say no. But with a happier smile she does tell us that she got a game....and we figure out that she likes to play monopoly. This is the same child who used to look so forlorn and detached. There is great progress made because now she makes eye contact and even asked me to help her with her math. There is a look of trust....not seen before. I am thankful.
My day ended by reading them a Thanksgiving book, so it seemed natural to ask "and what are you thankful for"? The responses were sweet and from the heart. Most of the children were thankful for their teacher....I feel that way too. A number were thankful for Coach Hein. I thought about how he is now gone from their campus, but his impact is still strong. They were thankful for families and friends, for pets and for "pie".
On the drive home I was thinking of what I am thankful for. I am thankful for teachers who go the extra mile to not only touch their minds, but to touch their hearts too. I am thankful for those who choose difficult paths, because they know that easy isn't always where they are most needed.
But today I am grateful for children who may live lives of more adversity than joy, but still maintain an innocence and a sense of hope. Today they were the teachers, and I felt like I learned a lot.