Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On The Difference A Few Words Can Make

This morning at breakfast, Thing One said something that stopped me in my tracks.  Out of a clear blue sky, he informed me that his Language Arts class at school is "kind of fun."

Now, this is a kid who has detested LA since first grade.  He's decent enough at it, just doesn't want to deal with the hassle of proper handwriting and grammar exercises and such: math, science and social studies are far more his thing.  His current LA teacher is strict as hell and very demanding, too...she got into his head about the second week of school and has stayed there.  I think she rocks, but she's the first teacher he's had who really treats the kids like young adults and the transition has been tough for many of his peers.

The second the kid got on the school bus, I sat down and dashed off an email to the teacher in question, passing along his comment about her class and noting that it would be difficult to get a much better compliment from a sixth-grade boy.  Her response? "Wow!  It sure doesn't get any better than that.  Thanks for making my day!"

Then, tonight, Thing One's basketball coach emailed all the team parents requesting that we let him know if our boys were going to miss either of this week's games.  There are two teams at his level, and in his four years of play he's had each head coach twice.  I sent a quick note back confirming that he'd be at both games, and got the following return email.

"Thanks, [Mama D], love having [Thing One] back on my team.  Missed him last year."

Just a few brief words from me to the teacher, and again from the coach to me, but what a difference they made to the day in both cases.  You'd better believe I'll be showing the coach's note to Thing One tomorrow morning, too.  And I'll also be trying to remember the power of even a few words to change somebody's day, so I can use that power for good going forward.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, it's a good reminder for sure!

    When I was a teacher, I had a very quiet student who was missing a lot of class. I didn't know what was going on, I just would meet with her to assign homework and get her up to speed on things. She was bright and I wasn't that worried about it, just trying to focus on the big stuff she'd need for high school.

    Two years later, she wrote me a letter about how important my care and support of her had been - her mother had died during that time and she was caring for younger siblings and she too was facing a serious health issue. NONE OF WHICH DID I KNOW. I didn't accommodate her situation in any way because I was ignorant of it, and yet in some way she felt that I was on her team.

    Getting that letter from her shook my world, and I'm still just grateful that she got whatever she needed from me and I wasn't any kind of jerk to her.


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