Just Like That…

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We spent some time with my grandmother this past week.  Our 9-year old also spent some time writing her first book.  It is a creative and very mysterious story she has titled “The Unplayed Piano.”

For the past couple of years, there are really just two types of books that our daughter loves to read most – poetry and mysteries.  As she completes a chapter of this story she is writing right now, she reads it to her mother and sister and me after dinner and makes changes here and there as she reads it.  There are elements of humor and anxiety and excitement, but they all revolve around the sound of this mysterious piano music that only certain people in this family’s house are able to hear.  We don’t yet know how it will end, but the suspense is killing us!

Here is what I wanted to share with you about my grandmother and my 9-year old and this story.  I was in the kitchen working on a puzzle with my grandfather last evening when I heard the following conversation in the other room.  It went like this:

Grandmother:  “Honey, I have been meaning to ask you all week…how is your book coming along?  I was just thinking that when we finish dinner, you and I should sit together so you can read more of it to me.   I want to hear what happens with that piano.”

Julia:  “Really?”

Grandmother:  “Yes, I can’t wait.”

Julia:  “Then I can’t wait to read it to you.”

Just like that, no more than a 30 second conversation and a little girl is so encouraged, so surprised, and so happy.  And just like that, a little girl becomes an author.

Great Teachers

Thanks to Facebook, our oldest daughter (now in college) has reconnected and become friends with her 4th grade teacher. It had been this teacher’s first year in the classroom and our daughter loved her from the moment she introduced herself to the class. They read so many good books that year that, if you ask her, our daughter can name nearly every one of them by heart.

A few weeks ago, these two friends decided to meet for breakfast and catch up on life and school and good books; and they took a picture to commemorate two of their favorite books from that 4th grade year. Her teacher’s young daughter had a book of her own and joined in the celebration:

Emily and 4th Grade Teacher July 2013

And here is what I want you to know about this photograph. Behind that book on your left is a student grateful for her teacher, a person who made a little girl feel important and loved and smart and said through her words and her actions, “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back because I’m your teacher.”

Children of every shape and size and IQ and race and religion deserve a teacher who will say that to them and really mean it. Behind that book in the middle of the photo is one of those teachers. Take a moment to applaud her work and then Facebook one of your teachers and applaud them. You won’t be able to imagine how much it will mean or how important it will be to them.

“Don’t worry. I’ve got your back because I’m your teacher.” If there is a line separating what makes a good teacher great, that must be it.