For the past few months, I have been spending some time on Thursday mornings volunteering at our neighborhood elementary school. I don’t have kids; I just feel strongly that I personally need to give some of my time away “for free”.
Truth be told, though, I’m not really giving away my time gratis. While I am not receiving any financial compensation, I am getting personal joy and fulfillment from this experience. (And I will take those items over straight cash any day.)
This morning, I arrived at the school a few minutes before the bell rang; so I saw kids coming off the buses, ambling about the halls, perusing books in the library, shoving back packs in lockers… just being school kids. As I carefully weaved my way through the little unpredictable bodies, one of the kids from the class I assist saw me.
The second his eyes met mine and he recognized who I was, his lips formed a very large smile. “Hi Mrs. B!” he said excitedly, waving his hand a bit. I returned his smile, said hello, and waved a bit; and he beamed even more at the shared gestures.
In the 30 second walk from the front of the school to the classroom I support, the above interaction was repeated two more times.
With each iteration, I felt my heart swell. These kids were living with such joy, such presence, such innocence, such goodness.
Personally, I believe that every human possesses these qualities; but kids are unafraid to project the essence of them loudly and proudly. Kids are great reminders to me.
I was given three amazing interactions today; and to me, they are plenty valuable.