We're finishing up our first week of school. I have a fresh batch of seventh graders. Ah, seventh graders. I always forget, from year to year, how much training they need at the beginning. I also have last year's batch back, in eighth grade now, with several new kids.
And, like everyone else, I've been watching the horror that is the news.
It's easy to feel caught up in the events of history, and as though there's very little you can do about the awful things going on. But there is one place where I can make a difference, and that's in my classroom. I can't do great things, as Mother Theresa put it, but I can do "small things with great love."
Seven years ago this week, I was back in my classroom for the first time after six months in the States after the Haiti earthquake. I was reveling in the ordinariness of my days. In this post I talked about how those ordinary things are what life is made of, and I shared the song lyrics below. This year this whole concept seems important to me again. Maybe treating my students with love and dignity will help prevent them from growing up into people who perpetrate attitudes like we're seeing in the news. Maybe small things are the most important things I can do right now.
This is the Stuff
by Carolyn Arends
Riding along on a big yellow school bus
Elmer's glue and a brand new lunch box
Writing my name for the very first time
With a pencil that was bigger than me
From jumping rope and skipping school
To doing things that grown-ups do
Life goes by like that big old bus
If you miss it, it's history
Paper dolls and paperweights
Scraped up knees and hearts that break
Dreams to dream and plans to make
Love to give and love to take
This is the stuff
The smallest moments
This is the stuff
I need to notice
This is the stuff life is made of
Walking along as my life unravels
Looking back at the road I've traveled
All the things that matter most
Have caught me by surprise
Misty eyes and silent prayers
Promises and secrets shared
Friends that keep you up all night
Laughing till you cry
Life's made up of little things
Ties that bind and apron strings
New beginnings, old routines
Love and heartache in between...
In my post seven years ago, I included someone's home video that had this song in the background. You can listen to it here.
Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.
6 hours ago