Monday, April 28, 2014

The Way We Are

For me the jury will always be out on Facebook.

I'm not really a picture poster of my morning walk or my pot of soup or my new shoes. Still, through Facebook I've been found by great people who have been absent from my life for decades. I've read some interesting articles I wouldn't have discovered on my own. I've been inspired by artful banners with lovely sayings.

Recently, however, I happened onto a heated exchange among students I taught at an independent high school in the 80s. I was amazed.

In all honesty, I couldn't remember much about some of them, but some I will always know like the back of my hand. Teach teenagers for four years in a small school and sponsor them in extracurricular activities, and their emotional fingerprints leave marks on your heart.

My husband Cliff and I met at that school. He taught in the elementary division, and over the years, his students began to show up in my classes. By trading notes, we realized they hadn't changed from kindergarteners to freshmen. The rowdy ones were still racing down the halls. The anxious souls were still biting their nails. The excellent students were still academically engaged. Children were children.

But here's what snapped me to attention as I scrolled through the Facebook ranting. They really hadn't changed in adulthood either. Grades and classroom behavior were no longer the issue here.

Civility was.

Tolerance was.

Goodness was.

No matter how many degrees they'd earned or spouses they'd had or children they'd raised or careers they'd exchanged, their personalities were basically the same.

I was relieved to no longer be responsible for the difficult ones. But I missed the dear ones like all get out. Their considered comments made me smile. Few things are better than knowing you once played a part in the sweet lives of people who have maintained their clarity.

We are who we always were. For better or worse.

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