Monday, February 6, 2017

In the Company of Encouragement

"My seventh period class thinks I'm funny."

Tony smiles.

"And because they think I'm funny  (I think), it gives me permission to be even funnier."

He nods his head.

His family thinks he's funny and sometimes...he's encouraged into silly funny. Ridiculous funny that only his mom, sister and brother find amusing.

He definitely understands how humor blossoms when encouraged by a loving audience.

When I can make the class laugh, I'm encouraged to take more risks. Sometimes that's all it takes to be funny--risk.

That I could become more funny just because of how people respond to me is impactful---The give and take of my class scenario actually changes who I am.

What if, by believing and conveying to my students and to my family that they are wonderful people, how much does that impact their actions? Even who they are?

They think I'm funny-- I become more funny. If I think they're amazing--wouldn't they become more amazing?

While waiting for our luggage, after our all night travel, I stood beside a mother and told her how wonderful her son was and how well he worked with the special needs children.

Her expression was full of doubt and she questioned me, "Are you serious?"

"Yes." I even told her about one afternoon when he sat for an hour drawing with one of the boys.

She proceeded to tell me the trouble her family had with this son.

"Maybe you just see the best in him," she said.

I did. I had no reason to see otherwise. I wasn't his mother cajoling him to do his homework or his chores. I wasn't breaking up the fights with his brothers. I saw his best, he continually rose to the occasion, and it was easy to reaffirm to his mother, "He's a wonderful young man."

And maybe, just maybe, it was enough for her to start seeing the best in him too.