Sunday, November 30, 2014


Sometimes teachers ask why I accept friend requests from my students’ parents on Facebook. The simple fact is that I feel like I learn so much more about my students through their parents. This deepens our bond during the school year, and beyond. Students “leave” my class at the end of fifth grade, but not really. I am blessed to see them in the community, to be part of their lives for many years. Facebook allows me to peek in on a regular basis, keep up to date. Most days it makes me simply smile to see these beautiful kids as they grow. Sometimes my heart is tugged so much, I must write about it. Such was the case tonight.

Delaney was in my class last year. She is a wonderful kid. A caring friend. She knows her mind, knows her values, and stands for what she believes in. Delaney taught me a lot last year. One thing she really reinforced for me was the power of connections between humans and animals.

Last year was the year of animals. Joey wrote a poem when he lost his goat and it made me cry. (HERE) We lost our dog and I struggled to say good-bye. (HERE) Delaney and her mom raised some puppies and she wrote poems to the new owners as she sent them on their way. With each lesson last year, I was reminded of the loyalty of animals and the power of our love for them.

It was an important reminder.

Reading and writing are an important part of my life, which would come as no surprise to anyone. However, nothing trumps connections for me. I love building relationships with my students each year. Watching those relationships grow. How the simple belief in my students can nourish them, allow them to find the confidence in who they are meant to me. It is a gift that I am allowed to do this each year. It is a gift that I get paid to sit back and watch kids grow, it is magical.

Some kids need me more than others. For others, I am just a spectator; they already have what they need.

Delaney has it. I was privileged to watch her last year. I get to still have a ringside seat this year through Facebook. Her mom posted these photos tonight and gave me permission to write about them, to share them.

Yes, that would be Delaney, asleep on her horse. Her mom said that he kept picking his head up, checking on her, making sure she is still there, still ok. Watching Delaney and her horse, Denver, I wish to my very core that I wrote children’s books. Their relationship is one that should be found on the pages of a beloved novel or picture book. It is pure and beautiful to behold.

Connections. Knowing what you are meant to do. Relationships. Love for animals. I love this world and getting to be a small part of so many kids lives. It is what makes it all worth it.