School starts in some districts in just one more week. Each year since retirement – three years now – I yearn to put on my new school clothes, pick up my briefcase, and march into my office to help students. I keep thinking that will change; I’ll look back and hardly remember those years. But it never happens.
Not long ago, I was paying my co-pay at an eye clinic when a young lady looked over from the next cubicle and said my name with a question mark at the end. She laughed. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she said. I hummed and hawed for a moment, squinted my eyes and looked closely at her face. I felt awful that the name escaped me. She obviously remembered me. I finally had to say, “I do know, but it’s just not coming.”
She took me off the hook by telling me her name, now married, and her maiden name. “Ah, of course,” I said. And we both laughed then because, as she freely admits, she had been what we call “a handful” as a teen. And I remembered some of our counseling meetings vividly. She went on to tell me how many of her classmates had moved to the southeast valley where I now live as well. She’s happily married, with kids, a good job. Did I have any part in that? I have no idea. I’d like to think I did, but she probably just simply grew up as we all do.
The fact that she recognized me tells me a lot. And whether I helped turn her life around doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we adults continue to care and to be there for them. I volunteer now at an elementary school. My career was spent at the high school level, but the little guys are much cuter. I look forward to every Wed. morning to get my dose of “kids”.
I hate blogs that preach, but keep in mind how many adults it takes to raise a child these days. A village they say. Consider volunteering at a school near you. Three hours a week helps a classroom teacher tremendously, and more importantly, the looks on those student faces when you walk in that door will warm your heart.