I am literally on a high after a little delivery I made today. The Girls on the Run team at Bearden decided on not 1, not 2, but 3 community service projects this fall. One of those was collecting warm winter coats for children in need. I suggested Pond Gap, a school in which I used to work. It’s a Title-1 school, and the needs are high. The kids are colorful, a little nutty, but also so sweet! So, as we awoke to 20 degree weather and I bundled my kids up just to walk from the car into school, I imagined many little people waiting in the cold at dark bus stops this morning. So, what a better day to deliver these coats, hats, and gloves than today.
Since I hadn’t stepped inside those old school doors since August (when I went to sadly say goodbye to some students I had grown really close with), I drove there with a few butterflies imagining what it would be like to see some of their surprised faces. Sure enough, as soon as I entered the same, old building, I immediately saw familiar faces. Hugs were spontaneous and tight.
More and more classes began taking bathroom breaks and coming by the front stairs where I stood. And, I was greeted with more and more love and surprised smiles. A 5th grade girl whom I knew very well, hugged me and leaned in to whisper, “My aunt died. And, my dad is back in jail.”
Then, I went down to the lunchroom. The jumps out of their seats, the squeals, and more hugs made me know my time there was worthwhile. Even children whose names I didn’t remember stopped to give me a hug (and, yes, they did ask if I remembered their name!).
For a part-time School Counselor, we don’t spend every day with the same kids like a classroom teacher. We don’t get those “best teacher ever” coffee mugs, and really much confirmation that we are indeed worthwhile. Aims web data doesn’t measure it. And, sometimes, teachers don’t really even know what we do.
But, like my School Counselor colleagues, what I DO know is that we love our students. We spend time making a child feel like they are the most important person on this earth, knowing they might not get that love elsewhere. And, sometimes, if you’re lucky, that genuine, pure love is returned.
Today, I got a great gift. Those tight squeezes we exchanged are proof that meaningful relationships do matter (man, I miss those crazy kids!). Today, those awesome kids made me feel like I was an important person to them. Or, maybe I just really needed some bear-hugs! Either way, wow… hugs are healing and what a joy it is to exchange the same genuine feeling at the same time!
Thank you, POND GAP PANTHERS!
#Love what you do. Do what you love!