Summer time is a great opportunity for teachers to rest and rejuvenate. We can lay aside the daily demands of the
classroom, reflect on the past school year, and begin brainstorming for the
year to come. I love summer break, but
do miss being around my students.
However, this summer, I got the opportunity to have one of those truly
heart-warming moments that I usually only experience in my classroom. You teachers know what I’m talking about — those
moments that make all the less pleasant ones fade away: When you see a student truly succeed or enjoy
an exciting, first-time experience.
My husband is the youth
pastor at our church, and we have been blessed to have a truly special young
man in our group. I’ll call him M. Even though M’s in middle school, he often
attended children’s activities, but had become very involved in the youth group
over the past few months. Our other
students are incredibly accepting and understanding, especially with his social
challenges. M. can be extremely shy and
very reserved, but they never stopped speaking to him and treating him as an
important member of our youth group.
As many church youth
groups do, we attended a week-long camp full of all the typical camp activities
(i.e., games, swimming, mud pits, zip-lining) as well as daily services. To my absolute joy, M. joined us! Honestly, I was concerned about how he would
do; camp is a very social place. It only
took about two days for me to realize that my concerns were unjustified. M. was out there introducing himself to
people, giving piggy-back rides, joking around with counselors, and, basically,
living it up! The other campers and
staff went above and beyond to include him and make sure he was a part of the
activities. He’d never been in a setting
like camp, but you could definitely not tell!
On the last day, there
was a ceremony held to announce team winners in the contest that had been going
on all week. I scanned our group’s
section and noticed M. was missing.
Moments later, a golf cart carrying M. and a camp staff member drove right
into the building. It was then announced
that M. had been named Most Valuable Camper!
Other students and staff applauded, cheered, and even carried M. around
on their shoulders. It was one of the
most amazing moments I’ve ever experienced.
So, it wasn’t the
Tennessee heat and humidity that warmed my heart this summer. It was seeing a young man have the time of
his life at camp and a group of young people who looked past his challenges to
make sure he did.
I know many of you have
similar stories; please share what moments, experiences, or memories are
warming your hearts this summer!