Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lighting a Candle

Well, it has been a little while since I last wrote. I have been a little dink, as they say in the Navy, in regard to my blog here. In my defense, life has been nothing short of insane lately. I don't really know why, I have just been feeling the stress. I hate the way that feels.

One thing that has really been the light in the darkness for me lately is volunteering every Friday at my daughter's school. I was asked by the teacher to help the children every Friday with Writer's workshop. What could possibly be better? I read all their stories and then make suggestions for more detail, clarification, and editing that needs done. It fills my heart with joy to see their faces when I walk into the room. The literally light up! Their smiles and their enthusiasm is so contagious!!

I usually work with 6-10 children a week, depending on how much work there is to be done. it's incredible how vibrant their imaginations are!!! Given the same set of words that they must use, and a specific story title, it is awesome how all of their stories are so unique - just like each one of them. Each story that I read reflects a bit of each child - their interests, their abilities, their lives - it's all there in black and white. I can tell you that Nathan likes soccer, The Legend of Zelda, camping and reading while Crystalline likes detective stories, reading, animals and mermaids.

Each child writes a story and then, before they come to me, they have to confer with a student partner in class. This can not always be the same person, so the children literally rotate around the room, working with every other person eventually. To see the constructive way that the work together, build one another up and support each other is truly amazing. We adults could learn alot just from watching the way that our children treat one another. Most of the time it is a beautiful thing.

Last week, one of my little girls was upset because she had so many corrections. Her story was incredible, but many of the words she was using were more complex and the corrections were simple spelling errors. I told her that we all have to learn and that we all make mistakes, it was learning from our mistakes that was important. The smile of joy on her face when I said that was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud, and then, the most amazing thing of all happened: she hugged me!!

I felt like the Queen of the World in that moment! I could do no wrong. The elation that these children feel and share just to know that an adult - ANY adult - cares about what they are doing and is interested, well, it is simply humbling. It is amazing how one small act of kindness creates a spark inside another person, which, if you are observant, you can watch blaze into a flame. A few minutes of your time, a few words of love, mean so much in the lives of our children. Most importantly, I know my daughter understands and appreciates what I do. IN her reflection sheet last week she wrote," I am happy because my mother is coming into our classroom today for writers workshop. It makes me and all my classmates happy to see her!" Nothing could be better than that!

So today, create a spark, light the flame in the life of another. Whether that other is your child, a neighbor, a friend or a total stranger - acts of kindness and love are a force of energy which once created, only grow and spread.