The Need For Heroes
Every kid needs a champion- someone that believes in them, no matter what. Sadly, sometimes kids’ parents are not their champions. I remember doing a journal entry at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. We were learning about the word, “admiration.”
“Someone who I have admiration for is…” Students were working hard at their desks to complete the sentence when one little boy, we will call him Kasey, came up to me.
“What is admiration Ms. Savage?”
“Admiration means having respect for a specific person, you think highly of him. Maybe you want to be like that person someday! Can you think of somebody you admire, Kasey?” There was a long pause as the eight-year-old African American boy thought deeply. Scaffolding further, I questioned, “Maybe there’s a boy who is older than you, or someone in your family?” His face went blank, as his expression was that of defeat.
“There’s not” Kasey whispered, as started to well up in his eyes before cascading down his cheeks leaving dark streaks. After consoling Kasey, I went back to my desk, faced my computer, and secretly started to cry.
Before this incident, it never dawned on me that some kids from impoverished, or broken homes literally have no one to look up to. In the world I grew up in, everyone had a role model, if not more than one. Many students I have taught came from family situations that were not ideal. I have had some students’ whose parents danced about a border of neglect like it was the 5th of May. Many children I have taught rely on the free breakfast and lunch that Title 1 funding provides. Three of my former students have incarcerated parents.
Going into the 2016-2017 school-year, I knew that one little boy in my class had an father in prison. I found out that another boy’s dad was currently serving time in the state penitentiary one day while the boy was having some serious behavior issues. Threatening to call his dad, the boy spouted back at me, “My dad’s in jail!” I just felt sad for the boy after that; and like a wounded lion, I backed off.
Too many students come from broken families, live in poverty, and are not deeply cared for. It’s a fact of life, as it always has been. Still, many people have not dealt with this beast in such a real way, as teachers have.
Rolling up my blouse sleeves, and drilling to the core of any heart-issue is hard-work. It can be messy. It can be perilous work. But it is worth it! Through these raw, heart-snagging experiences, I have learned that it is salient to “address the source; not just its symptoms;” in regards to student misbehavior.
I have taught many students with splinters in their hearts, (some with nails), that inflict pain upon their lives, daily. As teachers who are Christ-followers, we must get out our tweezers to find the unidentified object of pain. We are not counselors, but we can ask questions. We have limited time, but we sometimes have a minute or two to listen to their stories, and console their hearts. We can speak words of truth and encouragement into our students’ lives. We will never completely fix the situation. But, even one stich can help mend a student's wounded heart. Think about the boy or girl in your classroom who is constantly acting out; the one who is defiant; or the one always looking to gain his classmates’ attention. Miss Teacher, it is usually that student who needs you the most.
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jeus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."