Advent 2014: Astounded


It's was easy to land on a topic today.

Loretta's school, Roosevelt Elementary. The teachers and staff have been practicing all month for a production of The Nutcracker, their gift to the students. It blew us all away. The students, all 450 of them, were absolutely silent (except for lots of periodic laughter) as they watched their teachers dance and prance around. 

I know these teachers. I know that, by now, they are tired. They have persisted since September in setting up good norms for their classrooms. They've patiently handled behavioral problems. They've soldiered on with kids who are having a hard time reading, writing, or understanding math. They've gotten to school when it's dark and left when it's dark. They've sent hungry kids back to the cafeteria in the morning because it was obvious they didn't have breakfast. What they understand, more than I ever will, is that, for many of these students, school is where the best things happen to them. And that's why they worked their butts off on this holiday performance. In spite of their fatigue, they want to make it magical. They want more love in these little lives.

And this staff really, really likes each other. I work with groups and organizations of all kinds, and often they call me because they are in trouble. They cannot even dream of the kind of teamwork and camaraderie that I witnessed today--the laughter, the trust, the bringing out the absolute best in one another. You know me. I teared up. Okay. More than teared up. Cried.

Like some of you, I read too much news. And lots of it is about the failing education system in this country. I know there are problems. I witness many of them firsthand. But in this Title One school in my neighborhood, the problems definitely are not with these amazing, marathon-running teachers and staff who give their all every day. I feel so blessed to be part of it. Happy Holidays, Roosevelt Bears. Christmas came in that loud, hot gym.