Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sharing Life

Yesterday I did a day trip to Joplin to visit with two of my former students. I would have seen more kids, but I ran out of time, which was fine. I know that God wanted me with the two boys I was with, and I REALLY enjoyed my day with both of them.

My first half of the day was spent with Dustin. Dustin was in my class two years, and has always held a special place in my heart. His family lost their home in the tornado, and they are living with friends just outside of Joplin. He's in a secure home, with parents that love him DEARLY, so I know he's being taken care of VERY well. I was touched a few weeks ago when I was asked to just spend some time with him. Initially I thought, "Yeah, I'll do this to help him." But, as usual, God has taught me just as much as I have taught him. We laugh a lot, which isn't something I expected going into this season with him. I don't know why, but I didn't. We laugh a lot, and talk a lot about the tornado. I think he just likes getting it all talked out. He talks about facts, not emotions, which still counts in my book. He's been diagnosed with Autism, but he's very high functioning. But the amazing thing is that we talk a lot about WHAT IS STILL STANDING. Meaning, areas of Joplin that weren't affected. He is happy that not EVERYTHING was hit. Of course, yesterday it was really beneficial to us, as we saw Kung Fu Panda 2, and ate at the Food Court. Perhaps my favorite part yesterday was wearing 3-D glasses and talking throughout the moving with him. We laughed a lot throughout the movie too, which was fun. After returning him to his home, we took a picture in our 3D glasses. It was a day full of memories I'll never forget.

After that, I went and met another family that I knew from my previous school. I haven't seen Michael, my former student, since I have moved. He has really grown up. He chose to just walk around the mall. We went into Vintage Stock and he taught me A LOT about Video Game systems. I wish I could say I was just humoring him in my lack of knowledge about the various systems, but I wasn't. Michael has always been a quiet kid, and his silence taught me a lot yesterday. Don't get me wrong, he talked, but it was just different than with Dustin. Michael was that student that didn't talk a lot, but when he did, it was always worth my time to hear what he had to say. He's also from an amazing home, with a family that is a true definition of SURVIVORS of the recent tornado. I'm praying like crazy for relief for this family of 6.

On my drive home, I thought A LOT about what a privilege it is to be walking beside these families in this season of their lives. I have other students I want to see during my future visits to Joplin too. (School started yesterday for Joplin, so there was one in particular I didn't see because of that.) I was thinking on the drive home about what an amazing role teachers can play in the lives of students. While I realize I've said this before, it really is true, once a student is in my classroom, I want to be a support in their lives for as long as they want me beside them.

That's what sharing life is all about. *grin*


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