Sunday, December 2, 2007

Making A Difference

I had an amazing experience this past month....I just have to share!

Our state holds what's called "The Great American Teach-In" once a year in our public schools. This is where parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., come in and take over teaching for the day. You can talk about what you do for a living, your hobbies....just educate the kids on something new and exciting.

Well, I participated this year at both of my daughter's middle school classes. I was a little intimidated by the thought of a bunch of TOO-cool 8th graders and my cute little Chat Card game. So my plan was to go in and wow them with the technology of the website and just give them some ideas about writing a story...keep it simple, cool and short.

As I sat in the classroom waiting for my turn to start, I noticed that there were kids in this room that had stories...every single one of them. They were cool, yes, but I knew I had to wow them in a different way...I had to do something "Different". I wanted them to leave feeling like the had something to share with their families.

So I made a 180-turn on what my original plan was and did something different. We played storytelling games, used the Chat Cards, Story Starters...every kid took turns coming up and sharing their stories. They all loved to hear what their friends had to say when asked, "Do you remember the first time you broke a rule? What was it? Why did you do it?" Now some kids were shy and didn't want to participate, but with a little encouragement, they got up. And they talked, and they shared and they listened....I could see them lighting up and just enjoying the moment.

We finished off the 50 min. class with a fun game. I challenged them all to a contest of storytelling with no "likes" and "umms".....they had to talk and tell without using the words Like and the sound Umm. Whoever won could take a Story Starter of their choice. They're all so guilty of it and it was VERY challenging to say the least. Believe it or not, two boys won. In the midst of all the fun we had I packed up my stuff and headed for the door (with twins in stroller...that's another story...the benefits of working from home) and started to leave. As I opened the door both boys who had won came up to me and asked if they could please have their story starters....i was totally taken back. I really didn't think they'd want them, but they did!! They were so excited to share them with their friends and take them home...and that's exactly what they did.

A few days later my daughter placed a large envelope on my desk. I opened it and found 25 handwritten thank you notes from every single one of those students...I was in shock. I think i teared up! They told me thank you....not just for coming, but for giving them something fun to take home to their families, for giving them inspiration to write a story and tell their story their way, for being an example of a mom of 5 who chooses to stay home and work and be a mom, for teaching them that they have the ability to speak with maturity and be taken seriously....the list goes on.

I can't begin to tell how amazing I felt....this is why i do what i do! This is it! If i do NOTHING else, ever, with Cherish Bound, (which isn't going to happen) then I'm happy! I made a difference. I did something to help better a child's life and change their family. Ah! That is an Ah-ha moment!