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Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Blessing...Here's the 'Why'




“Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Buckle up. Hug a dad or a mother. Tell someone you love them.” I know it’s not grammatical. It should end, “Tell someone you love him or her.” Blech. Not gonna happen. “Tell someone you love them” completed our classroom charm.

I seldom forgot in the hectic days, but occasionally I did. Most often, students reminded me to yell at them. They waited, they joined me. It became a sacred tradition.

My motives were simple—I wanted to remind every one of my students, even the ones who were hard to love, that they were precious to the world. They had important relationships in this world. They had responsibilities to friends and family, and to themselves. I wanted the last words they heard from me to be a reminder of how easy it is to be positive, to reach out and make a difference. 

I wanted to create a classroom with mutual trust and respect were paramount. That trust and respect had to start with me...from the first day, from the first Friday. And continue every day, every Friday. Forever.

Sometimes I was the mom who received the hugs, and I accepted them gratefully. Sometimes I was the one who heard, "I love you." I would tell students they'd need to tell someone else too! It was a festive way to end the week -- we all were smiling as we said goodbye. 

I wanted to challenge them to be their best selves all weekend, and to come back to me on Monday, ready to learn. I want to remind them that someone cares about them, believes in them. Trusts them.

Take care of yourself – make good decisions, stay safe.
Take care of each other – look out for friends and family and strangers, reach out to others. Be kind.
Buckle up – please, please, please
Hug a dad or a mother – make a connection with a parent who’s doing the best he can to raise up a kid. Acknowledge her efforts.
Tell someone you love them – acknowledge the power of those words in another's life

Now, I ‘yell’ virtually on Facebook and Twitter. I post every Friday morning and then sit back and wait. It’s a class reunion for me as I watch to see who likes the post, or responds, or shares or retweets. I get to see former students from years past…over twenty years worth of students, all coming by to say, “Hi. I remember. I’m still living up to that charm.” I know the relationships we've forged through our Friday blessing has continued to grow, even after they have left my class, after they've made careers, built families of their own.

Over the years, former students have taken the blessing with them into their lives. Some print their own version on a bulletin board in their dorm room…Others designed original art: a poster or even a meme. One friend paraphrases the blessing to fit her own life and shares it every week with her friends and family. It makes me proud to see others adopt the words into their own lives. I love when they tag me on their own creations. I'm proud they continue to see value in the relationship we've created.

This year, Erin Raiber, a former student is beginning her own journey as a teacher and asked if she could copy my blessing to yell at her students. I love that idea! Those words are still ringing in classrooms…kids are still sitting impatiently to hear the words wash over them. These new students are recognizing their teacher cares enough to send them home for the weekend blessed and protected by love. Relationships are continuing to be strengthened with the words and the meaning behind them. Erin will carry these words into classrooms I'll never see, blessing students I'll never know. 

Now, when you see my posts on Friday, you'll know the rest of the story. These words have power…if not to protect, at least to remind you someone cares, wants the best for you, and holds high expectations of your behavior. The words are the manifestation of the connections we've forged and continue to build every week. 


Take care of yourself. 

Take care of each other.

Buckle up

Hug a dad 

...or a mother

Tell someone you love them!

Miss Erin Raiber, I am so proud of you, and so excited to share my blessing with you. I hope your teaching career is as fulfilling as mine was, even with the sad times. I think my blessing was really about giving me hope and reminding me what really matters in the classroom. 


4 comments:

  1. Lovely piece of writing for a even lovelier idea. Hmn? All about love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Sandra. It IS all about love...of our discipline, of the books we teach, of the kids we teach. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete