Friday, August 03, 2012

Kids will surprise you, all the time

I'm headed back to school Monday. This is officially my last weekday to lounge around. So I am putting it to good use. I'm listening to 80's favorites on YouTube while lurking in tv forum chat rooms to see if I can get a clue as to who The Closer's leak on the police squad is. So productive.

I've already started to turn my brain back to "school thinking." I cooked several things to be ready for Monday's easy prep lunch bag. I am collecting the things I'll need for school to put in the car Monday, like my mug, my thermos, my toiletries for the locker. I am mentally rearranging my "nook" to accommodate the changes in my tasks this year. Hhmmm, one table, or 6 desks...?"

I may grumble and moan about the summer being over but I am exaggerating. When August comes, I'm ready to go back. It is just the SHOCK to my system that I don't look forward to. I go from complete sitting and sedentary to complete 8 hours of constant movement. Being a para-pro is harder on the body than one thinks. I know the Cafeteria staff and custodians of course have a tough time re-accommodating their body to the physical work, and mine isn't close to theirs, but it is demanding. I really am up and down, here and there, lifting or reaching, moving or walking for 8 straight hours.

I am looking forward to meeting the kids next Friday. That's when the kids come back. I really really really love the kids.

In 1986 I was working in the largest elementary school at that time in the entire state of Maine. There were almost 1000 kids from K-6. If I remember correctly, my grade alone (second) had 6 classrooms. The Disney film An American Tale had been released, and for some reason, perhaps it was the last day of school or the last hours before Christmas break, we took all the 1st and 2nd grades to the massive cafeteria to watch the movie. It was quite a popular movie. But I was an adult and not interested in animated films, I didn't know how popular. Remember, this was before the internet, DVR, even VCRs. You saw a film in the movies when it came out and if you missed it, you missed it.

As with most Disney animated films, there were scenes of singing and evocative emotion from the main character. In An American Tale the famous scene came when the tiny mouse named Fieval was lonely and singing for his lost love in the song "Somewhere Out There." It is a hard song to sing, with lots of high soprano notes. It is a slow song to sing, being a very slow ballad. It is not a song you would expect kids to enjoy, and all the adult monitors in the room prepared for the inevitable moment when 250 kids got restless.

Instead, we were shocked into tears when the kids...sang.

One little tremulous voice, then another then another, rising as a chorus until 250 kids were sweetly singing the poignant words that unveiled the secret fear of every person: that separations will end and that somewhere out there, someone we love and miss is thinking of us.

I remember we looked at each other, shocked that all the kids knew the words, and that this spontaneous expression of joy that seemed to fall from angel's lips were echoing around that big room. We all cried, discreetly wiping tears from our own eyes. It was a moment I'll never forget..far from being restless little ones we had to discipline, they were sweet angels who sang from their own little hearts. Indeed, it has been almost thirty years and it seems like yesterday I heard those first little voices surprise us with their power:

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight

Somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star...

So yes, I am looking forward to returning to school. Children are from God, and their blessings to me are never ending. I hope I can be such a blessing to them.

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