In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded of the awesomeness of teenagers and the acts of kindness they perform that truly restore my faith in humanity. Since teenagers always seem to get a bad rap, I want to share just a few instances I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing just in the two weeks since school started.
Day 1: A teacher on hall duty accidentally kicked his mug, spilling coffee on the hallway floor. “Don’t let anyone step in this,” he told me. “I’ll go get some paper towels.” Just then, a student happened by, glanced down, and noticed the puddle on the floor. Without saying a word, he disappeared into the bathroom, returned with a handful of paper towels, and mopped up the mess. He never looked to me for acknowledgement or praise; he just continued along down the hallway.
Day 6: For the first time in my long teaching career, I am working at a Christian school. The other day, we had our first Chapel Day, 35 minutes of singing contemporary Christian music led by a praise team. I entered the gym to the rocking sounds of an electric guitar, wicked drums, a bass, and a keyboard. One of my quietest, most reticent students was standing at the mic – the lone singer – belting out praise music with a voice reminiscent of Florence of Florence and the Machines. I think my jaw probably dropped open. I watched as teenagers surrounded the band and sang with all of their hearts, some with lifted hands, eyes closed. I actually got goosebumps and thought to myself, I have the greatest job in the world. How often does that happen?
Day 7: I had graded my students’ first essays and entered the scores in the online grade book. The next day, I returned the papers and went about reviewing their errors and discussing areas for improvement. One boy raised his hand. “Dr. D, you gave me an 80 on my paper.” I concentrated on not rolling my eyes. Here we go with another grade grubber, about to complain that he should get another two points, I thought. He continued, “I noticed in the grade book that you had entered an 88. You’ll have to go in and fix that.” Now my jaw actually did drop.
So you see, they’re out there. You won’t read about them in the paper, and the media won’t talk about them. That’s why we need to. Share this with others and let them know that good kids abound. And please, share you own stories about all those teenagers out there who are really, really good kids.