REAL LIFE! I read to my students daily. Last week, after reading “Rest in Peace: The ‘I Can’t’ Funeral,” I had my students write about what’s limiting them in life – their “I Cant’s.” Let me tell you…many responses were DEEP! A few made me cry.
1. Several students were very open! I always beg them to provide specific examples. It’s an ongoing battle throughout the school year, but this time they provided a lot! I couldn’t believe some of the things I read. Never did I match the situation with the student. “No, that can’t be her home life.” “She’s so sweet, does her parents treat her like this?” “Really? He lacks self confidence?” The thoughts that ran through my mind…
2. My students trust me enough to share what they really think they cannot do. Sounds basic? It’s really not. Children wear so many protective layers. They will try to make you think they live a better life than children in The White House. If those layers are ever pulled back, you will see a different story. So, I’m humbled that they really did open up.
3. This assignment was a great reminder to show tough love AND be gentle at the same time. Often, teachers are under much stress (for valid reasons). Therefore, we don’t always display our care for children. Yet, this assignment was a swift reminder that my students have lives outside of school. Some good, bad, and even horrific. This was a gentle reminder that I’m responsible for precious lives everyday.
Now, what are YOUR “I Cant’s?”
I can’t find a husband.
I can’t please my boss.
I can’t discipline my children.
I can’t lose weight.
I can’t follow my dreams.
I can’t fulfill my purpose.
I can’t get to places on time.