One of my favorite YouTube videos is a dad giving his son an avocado as a gift. If you have never seen this video, it is a quick watch and the link is at the end of this post. I am sure the dad thought his son was going to be extremely disappointed with the gift, but when his son unwrapped the present, he said, “It’s an avocado! Thanks!” You could decipher the child’s reaction in one of two ways: he was just being polite or he was genuinely excited to receive an avocado. Either way, the younger people in our lives are teaching us lessons we have forgotten. The first lesson would be enjoying the simple things in life and the second would be appreciation. The little boy in this video is happy to just receive a gift. He did not throw a tantrum because it was not the latest iPad or a hover board. He accepted and appreciated the gift. I think that we often overlook the simple things in life, the little gifts, in search of a bigger one. In this search, we also tend to take many things in life for granted.
When I first arrived at St. Margaret of Scotland School, I was unsure if teaching was a career I wanted to pursue. I had an undergraduate degree in business, so I was taking this year to figure things out. Little did I know how quickly I would become attached to the kids. I looked forward to the screams of “Ms. White!” every morning and the rib crushing embraces as kids raced to hug me. In the beginning, I would ask myself why the kids are excited to see me when they saw me less than twenty hours before, but I would grow to appreciate these little moments. I have come to love the sometimes less than cheery “good mornings” from the middle school students and the “see you tomorrow” high fives. The students are choosing to reach out to me, in small ways, to let me know that they notice me and appreciate me. In return, I reciprocate these acts of love and make sure that each child feels special. I take care to notice the little things that my kids do to improve my day as well as the little things that improve their day. It has been one of my greatest joys to get to know the different students’ likes, dislikes, fears, passions, and dreams. I care when something important happens in their lives, whether it is losing a tooth or passing a test or winning a basketball game. They are the gifts that God has given to me to appreciate each day. My students call me to enjoy the simple things in life and to smile and laugh more often. My kids have reminded me that small, simple acts of kindness are the ones that make the biggest difference. My students have become my avocados, gifts I am grateful for and reminders to give a little more of myself each day.
Chicago, IL 2015-2016