This blog is a heart-overflowing-thank you to my second grade students. I was reflecting on why my week was so astoundingly incredible, and my smile kept growing as I thought of those precious people. It was all them. Of course, my first graders also added joy, but it was the second grade lesson I taught that made me realize I was actually being taught by THEM, the seven and eight year-olds.
I have heard the song "We are the World" a trillion times, at the very least. I was a little girl when it came out, and I remember getting so excited when I could watch the music video and point out the artists I knew. It also made me feel an uncanny connection that made those artists and myself on an equal field: children of this same world. I don't remember ever talking to anyone about this, but I do remember feeling that emotion of mattering and counting, too.
My Spring Program theme for my second grade class is "We are the World" and we are singing and dancing to songs from various countries and cultures. I have the privilege of also teaching Customs and Cultures along with the musical piece, and these little sweeties are sponges. Anyway, the chorus to "We are the World" is our transition song that we sing as students move between songs. I decided to show them the newer version of the song so that they could recognize the singers they knew. I was their exact same age when the song first came out, so this was a little nostalgic for me.
The nostalgia turned into smiling and the smiling rearranged itself into awe. That is where it stayed as class after class continued to make me feel like our world is going to be incredible because of these little ones who people it.
After watching it, we talked about the video and the lyrics. Here is what some of the kids said:
"Did you see how those people from Haiti were still dancing and smiling, even when they lost everything? Well, they didn't lose everything. They still had happiness. I guess houses and things aren't all that make you smile."
"You know how Mr. Wheaton says, 'Make it a great day or not. The choice is yours'? I think that when we sing 'There's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives,' it means kinda the same thing. You can make a choice to make your life and everyone's life better, or you can make a choice that makes your life worse."
THAT comment lead to another child saying, "And if you make no choice at all and do nothing, that still is a choice you made: to sit there and do nothing to help."
"No one is more important than someone else. Even I can do something important."
"We can make 'a brighter day' just by smiling at someone and then that smile makes someone smile at someone else, and that smile is smiled to someone else, and on and on until people smiled around the world because of your ONE morning smile."
One of my personal favorites, "Mrs. Schripsema, were you in that music video? I think I saw you in there." Okay...that one just made me laugh.
I could go on and on and on... But the gist of this post is, listen to your kids. They see what many of us adults have forgotten to see, and it's actually the most important things to realize and focus on in the day-to-day. THANK YOU, Mattawan's second grade, for making my days brighter just by being YOU.