Mmmm- homemade (not by me) banana bread for breakfast.
Yesterday, I took my 6th grade advisory kids (like homeroom) on a field trip to the old folks home. We’ve been doing a service learning project for several weeks- sewing and filling bags full of necessities that the home finds it difficult to keep stocked. Some of the spoiled little rich kids that I advise complained and whined every day about sewing- especially the ones who found it hard to do. But once I reminded them why we were doing it, they stopped whining until the next class at least. Every advisory in the 6th grade went to visit the old folks and our turn was yesterday. It was sadder than I expected. The place is not actually that far from my house but it’s in one of the more run-down zones in Guatemala. The residents have some outside space and lots of common areas, and even a chapel inside. But the walls are a horrible hospital-green and the decorations and paintings are old and faded. Another school had been there right before us so there were stars hung from the ceiling and balloons all over the floor. It helped but it was still sad.
Our kids are good kids- mostly. They come from a lot of money and are often raised by nannies and drivers. They get the latest “whatever” and jet off to Miami for the weekend. They have a house and a beach house and a house in Miami and maybe one at the lake, too. They are not wanting for anything. Or they shouldn’t be. I worked with students like this in the DR and Kuwait. The difference between those kids and these kids is that the students from the DR and Kuwait were aware that there were other people fairly close by who were not as fortunate as them. It was in their faces daily. These Guate kids- they go from school to their compound to the mall to their beach house, never stopping in between; never experiencing anything real. So compassion and empathy are two emotions that are seriously lacking in their worlds.
Yesterday, though, I was brought to tears. Many of the students did far better than I anticipated- they talked to as many people as they could, brought popsicles to them, picked up trash and were just generally helpful. One little girl, though, really made me believe that there was some understanding somewhere inside. I watched her feed a woman in a pink blanket her popsicle when it got to hard for her to do it herself. And kindly, and without the least bit of hesitation, fear, or revulsion. Then I watched her retrieve something that another lady had thrown and just so kindly hand it back. Several kids around her just watched the object roll on the ground and then they looked at the old lady like she was nuts. Not this little girl- she jumped right in to help! It really made me tear up and I told her as much- told her how proud I was. She looked very proud herself. I walked out of there proud of those little knuckleheads and hoping that some of that good feeling and good will would carry over.
Dave’s rugby game got cancelled. No letterman jacket for me.