If my heart wore a diaper, it'd be full.
A little gross, certainly. However, few things that small are that absorbent, making its density a perfect (albeit stinky) metaphor.
Anyway, I have a few moments to spare to report that I'm experiencing a full heart. Maybe I'm getting all soft and gushy in my old age (EGAD! is this a "senior moment"?) Perhaps this year's graduating seniors are getting to me. Maybe it's both.
At any rate, my heart is full.
This past month, I've had a handful of seniors come asking me to write them a letter of recommendation for college applications and scholarships (some of them harping and nagging, but hey! I still have a few days until the deadline...turnabout is fair play!). Of course, I've been more than happy to oblige; these incredible young men and women that have come seeking an endorsement have meant a lot to me as an educator, a director and as a human.
As I completed four recommendations this week, I was struck by a few observations:
- I remember each of these students' journeys from start to finish with great fondness. From scared freshman to confident senior; from aimless wanderer to driven, self-assured senior; from a peon to leader...the transformation and growth I've witnessed in kids is nothing beyond incredible. This alone makes my job worthwhile.
- Not only do the big life events stick out, but the small, seemingly insignificant events that seem to shine just as brightly across time. Like how every time I had my infant son at a rehearsal, I would always throw his freshly-filled diaper at the head at the same student. Or the student who, for four years, has been my "external harddrive" for my brain. Or the student who, every time I see him, comes up and says in an awkward, nerdy voice, "Hey...I'm Mr. Tobey...I like to be a tool..." Or the countless times I hear kids yelling, "TOOOOOBBBBEEEEE!!!!" Or how every single kid knows not to let me alone with power tools or electricity.
- Trying to condense all the incredible things that make each individual deserving of a scholarship or admittance into a single page is nearly impossible; a few sentences about what makes each one worthwhile does no justice to their life story and the impact they've had.
- Why does it seem we don't recognize the impact we have on each other--teacher to student and student-to-teacher--until we've come to an ending point? Why are we so guarded from telling others how much they have impacted us? And to clarify, I'm referring to how much my students have impacted me...
- How precious--how sacred--is it for educators, coaches, directors and sponsors to be able to say, "Oh, so-and-so? Yeah, she's one of my kids," or, "Such-and-such? Yes, he's my kid." Where else can we create bonds so sacred that we are willing to take ownership of a child's behavior and choices? To be the first to celebrate their successes and shine the light on their hard work and the first to come alongside them in failure to show them the way back to the straight and narrow? To be by their side no matter what? And knowing, in return, that those kids would walk to hell and back if you asked them (not that you ever would, of course).
This is definitely a senior moment.
And I am proud and grateful I get to spend the next few months with these incredible young people. And somehow, I hope to give them something that helps them go out and change their world for the better.
They've certainly changed my world for the better.