Monday, May 30, 2011

Chance Encounter

My mom had her right hip replaced last Monday and in the days following, my father and I took turns keeping vigil by her bedside.
If you’ve ever had a hospital stay, you know that it is far from restful (unless you are pumped full of morphine). Beeps, chimes and alarms sounded continuously. Registered Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Doctors, Residents, Human Resources Representatives, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and Housekeeping Employees came and went with such flowing regularity that we finally stopped closing the door.
One such visitor was unlike all the rest.
He was middle aged, wore a hospital badge, and smiled when he saw my mom. “When I saw your name on the board, I just had to come up to say hello. I don’t know if you remember me, but…” at which time my mother interrupted with his name. “That’s right!” he replied.
Then he looked at me and explained. “Your mom was my fifth grade teacher. My mom and dad had just uprooted us from Florida and I was a lost little boy. I’ll never forget your mom’s kindness.”
They caught up a little bit before he politely excused himself.
I felt so touched by the exchange. It was a powerful reminder that what we do matters. Education is taking a beating right now…and educators are being disrespected and maligned at every turn. However…there are so many outstanding educators…and while we can’t single handedly save education, we can single handedly have a lasting and powerful impact on the children we serve today. If we continue to love them madly, respect them deeply, and teach them fiercely, we too will be helping to form tomorrow’s citizens, whom we may be fortunate enough to cross paths with again many years from now.