And when I say relationships, it’s not the feel-good, warm and fuzzy, be my friend kind of relationship. Instead, it’s about truly getting to know each of your kids---their interests, family, fears, gifts, dreams---and protecting the light that wants to burn bright within us all from the stream of negativity and self-doubt that constantly blow around us. It’s about making the absolute commitment to meet every child where they are and walking side-by-side with them as they journey towards where they need to go to reach their fullest potential, and ensuring that every one of your kids know that they are a gift (no matter what) and are an essential piece to the very fabric of our beloved community.
Said another way, every kid needs a champion.
About the middle of Ms. Pierson’s talk (minute 4:30 to be exact), she shares a story about a student who missed 18 out of 20 questions on a math quiz and her response perfectly highlights what it means to be a champion.
Before you continue though, pause for a minute and think about how you would feel if you missed 18 out of 20 questions on a quiz. I don’t know about you but what comes to my mind is failure. Not failing, but failure. There is a distinct difference between those two.
Ms. Pierson’s response is priceless. She puts a big +2 and a smiley face on the child’s quiz. When the child asks, “Is this an F?,” Ms. Pierson responds with truth, “Yes.” The child then asks, “Then why did you put a smiley face?”
Ms. Pierson continues, “Because you are on the road. And when we review this material, won’t you do better?” The child responds, “Yes!”
She goes on to explain how “-18 sucks all the life out of you while +2 says I’m not all bad”.
So often I fear that we either suck all the life out of our struggling kids (-18) or we lower our expectations (whether consciously or unconsciously) to the point when we allow ourselves to believe that +2 is that child’s destination (and not the beginning of their road).
Ms. Pierson masterfully meets the child where he is, makes sure he knows that he is a gift, and shares her unending belief that he can and will do better the next time (and that she will be there with him EVERY. STEP. OF. THE. WAY.).
Every child needs a champion. Every child deserves a champion.
I am a champion. Are you?
Brent has led out of school time programs since 2006. First with Citizen Schools (2006-2010) followed by Beyond the Bell (2011-present). He has a M.Ed. with a specialization in out of school learning & facilitative leadership.