Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gifts of Affirmation & Encouragement (30 Day Blogging Challenge #4)

Today's prompt:

What was the nicest gift that you received from a student/ parent/ colleague?

You Can Do It Lake Huron Beach Oscoda Tr by stevendepolo, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  stevendepolo 

I must confess that when I first started pondering this prompt, visions of tangible objects, gifted to me over the years, scrolled through my imagination.

I saw a can of corn, a disco ball, a shoe calendar... a book about mullets, plates of misshapen cookies, a handmade necklace with a Colosseum pendant... a duck-tape pen, large wedge of Parmesan cheese, leopard-printed-heart-shaped charm, giant felted elf slippers, and countless drawings, cards, notes, and letters.  While remembering these trinkets, and the beautiful people who gave them to me, I was awash with sentimentality as my heart grew three sizes.

Although I admittedly enjoyed my indulgent journey down memory lane, the greatest gifts that I've received from students or a colleagues have not taken physical form.  They were words of affirmation and encouragement.  

For example, when a student graduating from high school told me, "You are my favorite teacher that I've ever had," it made me feel like every sacrifice I'd ever made to give students the best of myself had been worth it.

On another occasion, when a colleague invited me to do something that I might not have otherwise considered, telling me, "I know you can do it," I received the gift of having someone believe in me.

A common thread throughout the blogs that I've been reading over the past few days has been the importance of feeling connected through the quality of our relationships.  In reflecting upon the greatest gifts that I have received from students and colleagues, I am humbled by the reminder of how powerful my own words can be, and I pray that they will serve as gifts to others. 

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