I am beyond thankful and forever in debt to my brothers and sisters for being the shoulders my family stood on while Shea was going through her surgery and months long recovery. I know that we could not have faced this enormous task without their support and strength and energy, when ours was at an all time low. That will be on my “thankful” list forever.
But as I lie in bed this morning, with both my little girls sleeping along side of me, breathing deeply in the warm bed and dreaming of all the beautiful things before them, I decided what I was truly thankful for this year.
I am thankful this year for my children’s education. I am thankful for their teachers, and their schools, and their technology, and their books, and all of the opportunities it offers them. I finished my third teacher’s conference on Tuesday afternoon feeling like it was Christmas. Each one of my kid’s teachers sat before me and told me how well they were doing, how much they had learned, what good kids they were, how well they worked in groups and were liked by classmates. The whole thing was like a gift tied in a bow. They are thriving. They are not just doing well on the academic piece, but also with the social aspects of their grades and with peers. The whole package. They are all respectful to their teachers and polite and well mannered. In all, they are good kids.
When we bought our house in this community our kids were small. We didn’t really think about how good the school system was, or what we were giving them. We just were not there with our parenting yet, and didn’t see what was to come. We also did not know our daughter would have a physical disability, and what her needs would be. But what we ended up giving them was total wide open opportunity and chances. Their schools are amazing. The technology they are using blows my mind. My first grader has an Ipad and apps that she uses for reading, math, music, design, and art. Her teacher is an angel who was put on this earth to help children grow and love education. She loves to read, as much as her Mom, and to write stories, do math problems and draw and create. My fourth grader has a full time aide to help her, a laptop with special designs just to help her be successful, a teacher and a resource coordinator who have managed to bring my little girl to the level of her peers in three short months. They adore her, and they are so young and smart, and can figure out how Shea can be as successful as every one of her peers using the latest technology and education practices. They feel that she can do anything, and it has permeated into her as well. She doesn’t see limits, she sees opportunity. That is a gift I will forever be thankful for. When her special teacher talks about my daughter, I see only wide open spaces, and a true love and excitement for both my daughter and for teaching.
My son who is in middle school is thriving, and learning things I fear I will never be able to catch up to. His teachers love teaching, and really want to work with these kids. In three months he has created things I am in awe of, using technology to work on website design, time lines, spread sheets, and literature. The whole vibe of the middle school is supporting kids to be successful and to be safe and welcome. They can take it by the horns and learn and grow without any limits.
In so many communities without resources kids do not have these chances and opportunities. They don’t have personal laptops, and access to literature, and teachers who have the energy and passion to teach. In many countries girls of any age do not have access to education at all, based solely on their gender. In many places, children with disabilities are not included in the school system at all, and are discarded by the community as not having worth or being too difficult to include.
My children have the world on their plates. They have every chance to succeed, and to learn, and to grow, and to pay it forward as adults themselves. The teachers and professionals in their lives are the most amazing role models and my hope is that my children will grow to be just like them. Adults who are passionate about learning and bringing up the children around them.
So this year I am thankful for my children’s education and for all of their teachers and schools.
Without them our lives would not be as beautiful.