Tomorrow my daughter Eden graduates high school and it has me thinking. So often we parents measure time by the milestones of our kids, don’t we?
Today, Eden’s graduation has me thinking back the first grade two class I taught in 2006. I taught at the school my kids attended and Eden was in grade two as well, right next door to me. Now, this was a little too close for comfort for me (I am pretty much the opposite of a helicopter mom) but I tried to stay out of her way and she tried to stay out of mine and it worked fairly well for us. But my own class of students that year were a very challenging bunch, and I gained some extra special challenges as the year went on when some students were not thriving in other classes. I liked working with students who needed a little extra patience, time, listening ear or love. (I still love working with students like that).
But Eden’s graduation has me wondering: how many of my grade two class ten years ago will be walking across a stage to receive a diploma this week? How many of them have plans for their future and the means to make those plans happen?
I count myself lucky that my husband and I have successfully helped navigate half of our offspring so far to this milestone. Truthfully, I know we had it pretty easy and it was still HARD.
Our children, so far, have been blessed with physical and mental health that have allowed them to thrive. They’ve had a stable home environment with someone always to vent to, problem solve with, cry on, and celebrate the good stuff. They have found the academic burden challenging at times but always totally manageable. They have had good friends. They have made good decisions when it comes to respectful, responsible behaviour. They have never had to worry about where their next meal was coming from, where they would sleep next week or when they would next see their parents.
When I think back to my grade two class of ten years ago, I can probably count one one hand the number of students that were similarly blessed.
One hand. Less than 25%. All the rest faced bigger challenges, even as 7 year olds.
And it was STILL hard.
Educators, we have that unique opportunity to help some kid, sometime, get closer to a goal of getting across that stage and getting a diploma….or of making their life better in some other way. All of those baby steps along the way by all those educators can make the difference for every child. Every child. Not just some small percentage.
Tomorrow, when my girl walks across that stage, I will be silently thanking every educator that helped her get there and praying that there were more educators after me who have helped to get my little grade two class of 2006 across a stage too.
Every child deserves that. That’s why we do what we do, right?
Rest up this summer, educators. Next year, we have more lives to save.