I have a pretty good idea of what is going through your mind right before you fall asleep. And I think I know what you may be thinking about first thing in the morning. How is this possible? Because you are human! I’m willing to bet that you spend your last few waking moments thinking about the next day, or the next week or the next month.
Why is it we are often happiest on Friday evenings, summer vacations and during holiday breaks? I believe it is because that our list of things we are looking forward to is larger than the list of things that we are not looking forward to. This is a huge generalization, but I have a feeling that I am fairly accurate.
While this is something that we as adults have the ability to affect, I don’t think that many of the children we serve each day have this capability. I know this for a fact because I ask them. Part of my job, for better or for worse, is working with many of my school’s unhappiest children. And many times I will ask them, “what are you looking forward to when you get home?” Unfortunately, the response I often get is Nothing.
This is heartbreaking! I myself can’t wait to get to get home so I can see my wife and kids. And relax in my nice house. And eat a great meal. Or maybe watch a movie while relaxing on my sofa.
I am able to tip the scale in my favor with very little effort. And whenever I get down, which happens more often than it should, I need to remind myself of this fact and remember to appreciate all of the wonderful things I have to look forward to in life.
But what about many of our students? For many of them their lists are very disproportionate! The list of things they are not looking forward to is enormous. School sucks because they always get in trouble or the work is too hard or nobody likes them or they get picked, etc.. Then they go home to nothing and the list lengthens.
Worse yet, these students never get a chance to add to their list of things they are looking forward to. We have to find some way to help them with this. I believe we can help our students to tip the balance by not only giving them things to look forward to, but we can also help them with their list of things they are not looking forward to.
I am not pollyannish enough to think that we can instantly change our students’ lives for the better. But I know for a fact that we can start to tip the balance. And you never know. For some, that might be just enough to make waking up each morning a little exciting. Because while we can’t create stress-free lives for our students, we can make their lives a little better. And whether or not we realize it, we will have made ours’ better in the process.
“Anyone can slay a dragon …but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.”