Anyone that has ever been around babies for any length of time knows that they are attracted to shiny things. They can’t take their eyes of them. Whether it is something sparkly or something that reflects light, babies are usually mesmerized.
As I sit on the couch this morning I notice the same thing about my Christmas tree that is in the next room. When I view it from a distance I see the bright colorful lights and the shiny brand new ornaments. But as I look closer and more carefully, I see the ornaments from Christmases long ago that aren’t quite so bright. In fact they may even be a little bit damaged. And they definitely don’t shine! Yet, these are the ornaments that hold the most meaning to me. The one that a student gave me 15 years ago with the touching biblical quote. And the ornament from the 1st Christmas my wife and I were married. Or the homemade snowman that looks like it may come apart at any moment.
I myself need to look at my students the same way I look at my Christmas tree. Too often I notice the students that stand out. The ones that misbehave, the ones that shine, the ones that are unique . These are the ones that get the majority of my attention. And that is not right! It is not right because there are kids that at my school that follow all the rules, are kind to others and bring me little Christmas cards and yet I don’t even know their name. Or if I do know their name, I know that I don’t spend enough time simply listening to them and hearing what is on their mind.
When I return from the break I am going to make every effort to spend more time to get to know those kids that aren’t so shiny. The kids that know my name and yet I don’t know theirs. The kids that have been in my building since they were 4. The kids who have done everything to deserve my attention and yet haven’t gotten it. That is not say that I won’t continue to give attention to those things that are shiny. I am sure I will. I just need to start paying more attention to those things that are not because they have been ignored for too long.