what i learned this week #6

whatilearnedthisweek

1.  The Zombies, Run! app has to be the most fun C25K (Couch to 5K) app ever.  Armband + earbuds + this app = me having fun running for the first time in my life.

2. Kale chips don’t save well overnight.  Eat them immediately out of the oven.  You’ll be happy.

library23. A trip to the library is the equivalent of me climbing into a Delorian with a flux capacitor.  I’m not making a statement about books being antiquated; I’m saying that being among gobs of paper covered with cardboard reminds me that once I was a bookworm, and I still like books very much.  Dear Books, Will you be my friend again?  Check yes or no.

4. There seems to be nothing more the neurologist can do for me right now.  He’s run all the tests he finds appropriate, and his parting words were pretty much, “Well, you seem to be getting better.  See you in 6 months.”  He’s a good doctor, and I think maybe what’s going on with me isn’t going to be addressed by his field.  I doubt I’ll go back unless something drastic changes.

5.  My kids are so full of grace toward me.  At the same bedtime in which I’m kicking myself for being a sorry, impatient, selfish mom, my kids are thanking God for me in their prayers and snuggling up to me.  The way they love me so fully in spite of my failures reminds me of the verse that says, “His kindness leads us to repentance.”  You can’t help but want to be better when you’re the recipient of such an undeserved gift.

graduation6. People are so weird when it comes to ceremonies these days.  We complain if it’s too long, we complain if it’s too short.  Some people wouldn’t mind if it didn’t happen at all, because “it doesn’t change anything,” even though others would pay more than $1000 to suffer in coach for 15 hours just to attend.  Some of us get dressed up in our best duds just to show up and chat with a neighbor the whole time. We are weird, y’all.  (I still think they’re important.)

He Beat the Odds

He was kicked out of middle school for bringing a weapon in the building, and rightly so.
He’s expected to keep up at school after pacing the floors with his screaming infant half the night, and rightly so.
He was arrested for doing something illegal about 6 months ago, and rightly so.
I screamed with joy when he walked across the stage tonight, and rightly so.

This semester I’ve been teaching at an alternative high school. Community members tend to describe this school as “where the bad kids go.”  I’ve heard that more than once.  When a student at this school does every assignment on the spot, responds with some enthusiasm, enjoys coming to your class, defends your honor when another student is having a bad day, jumps in to help teach those who are struggling… Actually, I don’t care what school you’re at.  You’d love to teach him, right?

I loved teaching Z, and I’m rooting for him.  He’s one of my favorites of all the kids I’ve taught. I love them all, I like most, and I work hard to treat each one fairly. (I think it’s actually harmful to the “nice” kids when you let them slide too much because they’re nice, but that’s another post for another day.) It’s just that some touch your heart a little differently than others, and that’s okay.  Alongside the planned lessons, we jammed out to John Mayer a hundred times, we discussed infant earache symptoms, and I got a fist bump every time he came into class.  He’d already had a serious change of heart by the time I met him.  Prison will do that to you, according to him.  If you’d heard Z a few weeks ago preaching at a younger student headed down the same path, you’d have wanted to high five everything in sight, and you’d know in your heart that he has a real chance at succeeding. He has serious plans for the near future, which I’ll keep confidential at this time for his sake.

Right before he walked across the stage, he turned around and grabbed my hand in a kind of part handshake, part hug.  I wanted to jump up on the auditorium chair and yell, “Y’ALL!  DO YOU EVEN KNOW?!”  At that point in my daydream, I would begin rambling in the way I tend to do when I’m feeling passionate.  I’d tell them that I don’t care if lots of people think it’s uncouth to whoop and holler at a graduation; let’s tear the place down for this kid!  Cue the Kool and the Gang, turn on the fog machine, fade to black.

It’s risky to be excited for him.  He’s not entirely out of the woods.  But that risk was overwhelmed by joy last night, so when he shook hands with the principal and took hold of the paper declaring his accomplishment, I got uncouth with everybody else who saw the beauty in second chances.

Have you ever rooted for someone who wasn’t expected to succeed?