One of my favorite times of the night just ended. I love when the kids all pile in my bed to pray. Then every single night, the little girls want "The Angel" song. I love singing and praying with my babies. It's such a beautiful part of my life. I never expected this routine to matter to anyone outside my family.
However, yesterday, one of my students was complaining about his toddler siblings keeping him up at night. He has a rough life, and ends up tending to his siblings a lot. Apparently, the babies come get in bed with him when they get scared at night. He was exhausted and asked me, "Mrs. Kemp what do you do when Abby gets in bed with you and won't go to sleep." (A first grader asking for parenting tips just broke my heart.) I told him about singing and praying with the kids at night.
Today this little guy came to my reading table. He said, "Mrs. Kemp, have you noticed that I'm being good today." (cause he's usually very much not.)
I said, "Yes sir, you are making good choices today."
He said, "It's easier to make good choices when I'm not tired."
I said, "I'm glad you got some rest last night."
He said, "Yep, I tried that thing you told me about."
I was totally confused and had no idea what he was talking about. I responded, "Huh?"
He said, "You know, singing to the babies. When they got in my bed, I put one on each side of me. I rubbed their backs, and sang them that sunshine song that you sing to us in our class."
Me, "What sunshine song?"
Him, "You know, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray... but that's all I could remember so I just sang that over and over to them until they went to sleep. Can you teach me the rest of that song?"
Me, "Absolutely." So I put off reading group and taught my student the rest of the song, so that he could sing the rest to his baby siblings. Because they don't have anybody else to sing to them. And I tried hard not to cry. I made it until school was over, and cried on the commute home.
So tonight as I sang over my children, I was thankful. Thankful that life has granted me the blessing of a beautiful family. A family filled with love. Where I get the great privilege to be the one singin' lullabies and saying tiny prayers with my babies. Thankful that tonight Abby is laying between her Mommy and Daddy who love her and love each other. And my heart breaks for my students who don't know what that kind of love looks like. My students who beg me to take them home. My students who cry on Friday afternoon because they can't come to school to be with me. "Because you love me, Mrs. Kemp."
Teaching is a tough gig. Once again, I don't want to spend 27 more years in the classroom. I don't love my job and daydream about other opportunities. But God uses me in great and mighty ways in my students' lives. Not just educationally, but so much more. Every year he has granted me the grace to love my students ferociously and passionately. For many of them it is the first time they have ever experienced unconditional love. It is in this environment that I see impossible academic gains occur. And so I am thankful, that for this season in my life where God has placed me in the classroom that he has gifted me for the task. I wish it was a little easier. A little less stress, and less exhausting so I could be a better mom when I got home. But I can't argue with the way God has, and is moving among my students.
(For you teachers out there, I had to do another happy dance today....a little girl who came in reading a 4 moved into a level 20 today. That's the kind of amazing stuff that God's doing, that I have no explanation for. I wish I could say it's just me, but it's not.)