Never give up

I was a dance teacher and elementary school educator for over 10 years. In all of those years of working with children, one thing was very clear; my students always taught me more than I could ever teach them. This sentiment couldn't be more evident in the life lesson I learned from one of my rambunctious little boys...

It was the week of the book fair at our school and students were bursting at the seams to spend their parents' money. Of course there's more than books at book fairs - students can get their hands on all kinds of different gadgets and gizmos. For a teacher, it was always a little heartbreaking to see your students strut back from the book fair with any and everything except a book, but no surprise nonetheless. 

One of my students was extremely sad every time our class was called to go to the book fair. As several of his classmates soared out of their seats and skipped down the hall, this particular student's face pulled at my heart strings. He didn't have money to go to the book fair for whatever reason. On day three, God spoke to my spirit and said, "Give him money to go to the book fair." Now let me break this down for you. This was very early in my teaching career. I had recently transitioned from "struggling artist" to "struggling teacher." I was so broke that my brother had given me money to make ends meet. I only had a $20 bill left whenever God spoke to me and instructed me to give my student money to go to the book fair. So after asking God, "Are you sure you were talking to me? I mean, why can't I pray for another teacher to walk into my classroom and give him money?" it became very clear that I was not getting out of this one. 

I quietly called for the little boy to meet me in the hallway. He thought he was in trouble and rightfully so - this kiddo was always getting into something he had no business! I quietly and calmly handed him the $20 bill and said, "Here. Take this and go to the book fair." His mouth practically hit the floor and with good reason. This was the same kiddo who was accused of stealing money out of his teacher's purse the year before; and here was another teacher willingly giving him money to go to the book fair! He said, "Me? This is for me?" as tears streamed down his cheeks. I said, "Yes. Don't say anything else. Just go to the book fair and get whatever you want." I watched him slowly walk down the hall shaking his head in disbelief.

A little while later, my wild child of a student quietly returned to the classroom and guess what...

He came back with two books - one for him and one for me to add to my classroom library! Not only did he not get any junk, he bought me a book AND he gave me my exact change! He didn't spend all of the money nor did he steal any.

My life lesson was this: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR CHILDREN! While you may get tired of saying the same things over and over and doing the same things over and over, just know that it's worth it. You need to sweat the small stuff and you need to persevere because children are listening, they're watching and they are taking it all in. It may not seem like anything is taking hold, but you never ever know when it's all going to sink in and make a positive impact on them. Just keep on keeping on, and when it gets past the point of frustration, read a book with a positive message, pray, surround yourself with encouraging people and get back into the game. Your children need you whether they act like it or not. If you don't believe in them, how can you expect them to believe in themselves? Children will only rise to the expectations we've placed deep on the inside of them. You were put in this position because God knew you had everything your child/children need to succeed in life, so never give up on them and never give up on yourself! Be blessed! :)