There's this kid in one of my classes. He is a hot mess. Can't sit still to save his life. Too smart (and smart-mouthed) for his own good. Always wanting to be the center of attention and willing to fight me for it in the middle of lessons. Defiant at times. He is a challenge. But honest truth? I really like him. I mean, yes, he drove me crazy for the first few weeks. He dragged me into a couple of power struggles. But something happened today that changed everything.
This morning at breakfast I stopped by his table while making my rounds in the cafeteria. I asked him how he was doing. He responded with a simple "Good." I got ready to move on. Then he pulls his hat over his face. I asked him what in the world he was doing and he says, "I'm a dinosaur... meow." The girl next to him laughs. I smile and shake my head. "That was actually really funny," I say. The girl asks why I'm not laughing then. I say something about laughing on the inside and she says something that reshaped my entire day...
I like him. He makes me laugh. I have a really sad life, but he makes me happy.
Now I have no idea what this girl's story is, but this mess of a kid is making a difference in her life. I love that on so many levels. First, it reminds me that every one of these children that I get to work with is a human being. Each one is gifted uniquely and can make a valuable contribution to our world. They are not challenges to be overcome or problems to be controlled. They can't always see their value or believe in their potential... neither can I. But we can try. We can pray for eyes to see more than what is in front of us.
Also, I just love the reminder that no matter how messy we are, we can make a difference in someone's life. No matter how many things we struggle with, we can be a positive influence somewhere for someone. No matter how broken we feel we are, we are still gifted and our lives still have purpose. We may not be able to control our smart mouths all the time, but we can still say things that bring people joy. And that is a good thing.