Today B told me what was coming next for her son. She began by telling me how he is finishing up his undergraduate at an ivy league school, I think she was going to go on and explain his next endeavor, or how he was making himself a better person, or how he is making the world a better place. And I was overcome by emotion. I thought about how I knew this little boy who was smiley, and full of energy, who was argumentative and obstinate at times. I thought about the ups and the downs of B's life and how this effected or didn't effect her boy. I thought about how even though this special kid never seemed to struggle academically in school there may have been other challenges. Mostly I thought about the man he was becoming and how happy I was to have played a small role in that.
I asked her how she did it. I asked her what she did to raise such a great person. As a mom of two eight year olds I'm always looking for that parenting secret. What she said brought tears to my eyes and a light bulb above my head and I want to share it with you.
She said, "I let him be magic."
I'm sure I gave her a look at this point as I tried to understand and she went on to say...
"I let him show the world his magic without trying to change him"
You see, friends, I spend my day with sometimes hundreds of students. Some students spend more time with me than others. Some kids see me only briefly on the playground or the halls. But if I can let each of these kids show the world their magic without trying to change who they are then I did a good job. As a special education teacher I spend most of my day with kids with disabilities. Many of these disabilities are invisible but could be seen as a burden (future blog post...*.). Let's instead try to see them as magic.
*I like to insert a note to you and to myself that this topic deserves a future blog post