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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ursula's Last Day

Ursula came out last friday for her final guidance class with the kids. The theme was 'giving'. In this picture, the kids were talking about giving the gift of laughter as someone inadvertantly cracked everyone up. It was Elijah's squeaky chair. They talked about ways that we give which can be everything from love to money to....yes....laughter. The kids give me that every day.
They came up with their list first and then began focusing on what each person would give to various groups, like family, or community.
They wrote their ideas on round pieces of paper and put them together to create a 'ripple effect' of giving. Amber said she would like to give Dawn soap to help clean the animals from the BP oil spill.
The idea of creating a positive ripple effect rather than a negative one is a great thing to think about. Ursula talked about instances when we might be having a really bad day and our negativity can have a not-so-great effect on everything and everyone around us. Then the opposite situation where our giving attitudes can create positive effects on those around us.
The K-2 class also came up with their positive ripple effect. It was pretty evident that we have a group of compassionate, giving students. I love the one that says, "When I give my mom a hug when she is crying." Who doesn't love that? And the little people with their hands up in the air? So sweet. We often write 'encouraging words' to each other and share them on fridays. Sometimes it's nothing more than a, "You're really good at kickball" which is great and encouraging, but then there's the deeper, "I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings," or "I'm sorry that your Nana died," that really get me.

In Alaska, I had this student named Leonard who had some real learning difficulties. He was such a sweet kid, though, and had a great sense of humor, that was often misunderstood by his peers. One day I was reading the encouraging words out to the class and there was this note that said, "Dear Leonard, HAPPY DAY! Love, Leonard." Well, the whole class thought that was a riot and I liked it so much I asked him if I could keep it. A short time later, he died in a whaling accident. I was full of grief for quite a while about it but one day I found something in my jacket pocket. I unfolded it and there was the encouraging word from Leonard to himself. I laughed out loud. Sometimes the greatest encouragement is what we give to ourselves and I keep his note on my dresser to remind me that even though the moment is gone, our words live on. Positively. Or negatively.

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