Monday, January 11, 2016

The Blue RIbbon Project

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” I Thessalonians 5:11a

     This year’s Christmas Eve service at Beach Cities Church was unbelievable!  We had the most amazing time under a huge tent at Newport Back Bay.  The music and celebration was so special.  Pastor Kent told a special story (kind of a Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of story) about a young man who received a blue ribbon as an encouragement from an employer.  He was then asked to pass on a ribbon to someone else and a final ribbon given to a third person.  The ending was very powerful!  We were then asked to do the same as a congregation…pass on a ribbon with a word of encouragement to someone who’s impacted our lives, with 2 additional ribbons to then be passed on by that recipient. 
     It took me a while to decide who I was giving that ribbon to.  Honestly, I am blessed in my life to be able to think of MANY people to whom I could have given that ribbon.  I just waited.  Then, it hit me.  I gave it to a sixth grader at my school who has come to test several of my struggling  2nd graders on their 1st grade site words.  He comes almost weekly.  He brings a friend or two sometimes.  He has NEVER told his teacher he does this!  I never even had him in my own class…just for reading intervention.  He does it without looking for anything in return (except an occasional Starburst).  He is definitely not a strong reader, and probably struggles with some of the words himself once in a while, but he is faithful to come!  A few other boys dropped out of volunteering early on when they realized it wasn’t anything super exciting.  Aaron kept coming.
     I had encouraged Aaron early on, explaining that I couldn’t test the kids every week but they would make greater strides in reading with his help.  I also told him how much the students would grow to like him and look forward to him coming.  He rarely misses!  And guess what…these kids are growing leaps and bounds in their reading.  It was the greatest gift to explain in front of our class what the blue ribbon represented and why he was getting it.  This picture shows just a few of the kids he’s been reading with.  I’ve never seen this young man glow like he did when I honored him in front of the class.  The kids working with him were so proud as well.  It was one of the greatest highlights in my 21 years of teaching. 
     I am so reminded of the power of encouragement through this challenge.  I am also starting a new challenge for myself in the classroom that will hopefully impact every kid every day.  Here it is:
Give every kid a compliment every day! 
This will be my motto for 2016..and probably for every class every year.  I am excited to see what happens in Room 28 for the remainder of the year.

1 comment:

mommahud8 said...

Kim- I'm finally catching up on your blog! I love your stories, your faith reminders, your reflections on His love and strength! You are such a gift to all the "Aarons" who have come into your life. It's no surprise that some of your students from Eisenhower still get together with you (how many years ago did you teach them?)and affirm the impact you had on them! I love you!