Today at 9:30 a.m. 11 of my students hopped onto a bus to go play soccer against a neighboring school. They may be 4 and 5, but soccer still rules everything. When they returned 2 hours later, they were happy to report that they won! Just as we began to celebrate, I heard Gadiel walk around the corner…sobbing.
Without giving too much detail, Gadiel’s parents were recently separated and he is currently living with his mom. From what I can tell he doesn’t get to see his dad very much. Today his dad promised him that he would be at his game and he didn’t show up. Gadiel spent the game on the sidelines crying because his dad wasn’t there. When the kids returned from the game we were in the middle of recess and while everyone else went to celebrate and play, Gadiel sat in my lap, sweaty from heaving sobs and covered in tears. I sat there holding him as he cried over and over again, “My dad said he was going to come. He didn’t come. He told me he would come.” What do you say? How do you make him feel better? I don’t know (although in retrospect I could’ve done a much better job than I did). So I just sat there holding him as tight as I could and telling him I was sorry and that it was okay to be sad. He was broken and sitting there holding him my heart broke along with his.
I am not a parent. I don’t mean to criticize anyone who is a parent. Life happens and sometimes we can’t keep our promises. But know that you matter to your kids. You are truly the coolest person in the world to them. When you come to their soccer game or tell them how amazing their drawing is, they could not be happier. When you have to break a promise, tell them you are sorry. Hug them and love them well. And know that even in those moments when it seems like they don’t like you, you matter to them and everything you say and do matters to them.
A teacher’s humble perspective.