Next week, I’ll be away from the blog as I take a little cross-country drive – to visit my team at Moody Publishers in Chicago, talk on a couple of radio stations, go down to Louisville to meet some cool people, and get back home. When I come back, I’ll tell you about it.
Yesterday was the last day of classes at my school. I know, some of you are still trudging your way to the finish line.
Farewells were made. Cards and treats were exchanged. And while the last day comes as a relief, I also get a bit sentimental, because it is another indication that time is passing, and my students are growing up.
Getting sugary treats from students on special occasions is nice. But I really treasure the words students give me. Seriously, I’ve kept every card or drawing that students have given me. But yesterday, I got the best card I have ever received. The simple message inside, accompanied by a couple of hearts scrawled in pen made me laugh instantly, but also gripped my heart.
“Mr. Appling, I am glad you are my art teacher. Thank you for helping me with my projects, even when I think it’s a disaster.”
Keep in mind this student is a notoriously stubborn perfectionist. In other words, she thinks every project is a disaster. There are many days that I am not sure she is glad I am her teacher. We butt heads like two stiff-necked animals as I insist on believing in her when her belief in herself remains obstinately, defiantly low.
What gripped me (after I laughed) was how, in my own perfectionism, I rarely believe that I have done enough for anyone, including my students. I don’t think I’m a great teacher, a great friend, a great husband. I’m okay. But I could do more.
But sometimes, all a person needs is someone to believe in them, to tell them that things aren’t as bad as they look, to assure them that it’s not a disaster, to stubbornly, obstinately believe in them, though they insist on not believing in themselves.
Who was the last person who insisted on believing in you when you thought everything was a disaster?