I was reminded of this from +Bethany Hill :
I have a thing about being on time. We make a point of starting school exactly at 8:00 AM. I talk to families about how important it is for the their children to learn that being on time is a responsibility and that, "Kids aren't late for school, their parents are." Of course there are exceptions and "real" reasons for students to be late but it is important that the adults show the children that being on time is important.
Each morning, we make sure that students who arrive late must be brought into the office and we document their lateness and give them a pass to class. Kindergarteners and preschoolers must be walked to class by an adult. Yesterday, one mom brought her daughter in about 10 minutes after school opened. The mother was definitely a little frazzled, although her daughter seemed to be taking it well. The mother signed her daughter in as I said hello (with a little glance at the clock). As always, I told the child to say goodbye to her mother and I took her hand to walk her down to the class.
As we were walking down the hall, the little girl nonchalantly said to me, "My daddy was supposed to bring me but he forgot."
Wow! What more needs to be said. School is a place where students should feel loved and safe. Today, we are going to make sure that this child feels all of that. All of the other things just don't matter.
I was having a discussion with one of our basic skills teachers about a particular student who has struggled and may have some learning issues. She said to me (paraphrase), "Some days she gets it and other days, she seems to not really be with it." We discussed a little more and then I remembered a message I had received the other day about a family that was in immediate need of food and clothing. It was her family. It was her.
No wonder she is having trouble focussing. No wonder she is more hungry than usual. She has been taking her breakfast from our program and putting it in her bag to take home for her family. Wow! We really do have our priorities mixed up. The discussion changed. Today, we will take care of her. We will help her and her family. We will make her feel the love and safety that school is about.
Our school motto is "We're All a Part of One Golden Heart." Each morning on the morning announcements one or two students are recognized for having "Golden Hearts". Teachers and students can nominate children who show their golden hearts by doing something nice for someone else. Our music teacher does the announcements each morning and sometimes I don't always hear them but YESTERDAY, this is what I heard:
"Colin showed his Golden Heart when he asked family and friends to give him money to help needy families instead of presents for his birthday. The money was used to put together birthday baskets for kids whose families do not have money for presents or parties."
Wow again! A first grader with such an amazing and giving spirit. What first grader do you know that would even consider this? Truly amazing. So I sent an email to his parents to tell them how proud we were of him and what an amazing child they had. This was the response:
"Thanks Mr. Billy! We are thrilled about his golden heart. We have been trying to instill in him a sense of giving back since almost since birth. It's a tradition we started on his first birthday but now it is driven by him."
Wow, wow, wow again! - There is hope for us all.
We just recently started a preschool in our building. This is new for us and many students didn't know what to expect. One young man (a first grader) took the bull by the horns and volunteered to help get one of his bus mates into class every day. He expected no reward. He just does it because of his "golden heart." This really says it all.
Each day is a new beginning. We need to remember that each child brings their own story to school each day and that how we react to their presence can have a lifelong affect on them. Today, let's make our schools a sanctuary and a place of learning, love and empathy.