Last night I went to a concert for my 8 year old friend, Parker. His teacher has ties to a deaf and blind school in Ghana and their class decided to raise money so the school could buy a computer. I almost didn't go, then pulled myself together at the last minute.
Good decision. It was fabulous to support Parker's cause. The third graders in his class did a great job. Parker sang and danced his heart out. And I learned a life lesson.
Here's the scoop: Miss Brynn, Parker's teacher, wrote a song for the class to sing. In the song, each third grader was spotlighted with a line stating the child's name and some quality the class admired. I'm not sure, but I'd guess the class was asked to help identify those qualities. So, the song went something like this, "Friends, friends, everywhere a friend. Ana is nice and sweet, Carlos has a story to tell, Shauna knows the words to songs, Christian is a basketball star. Friends, friends...." You get the picture. Each time a name was sung, the third grader waved or stepped forward to claim his quality. It was sweet to watch them be uncomfortable and proud as their families saw them in the spotlight. As the song went on, I noticed Parker's smile became a squint of confusion, then a frown of frustration as the song concluded. His mom whispered to me, "They skipped the line about him."
Oh my dear, sweet boy! To watch his face as they moved on to another song--he valiantly fought off a melt down. Red faced and teary eyed, he pretended to do the sign language for the next song. Eventually, he pulled it together and just moved on. By the end of the concert, he was all smiles and boy-ready for a cookie and a hug.
After about five minutes of visiting and refreshment-ing, Miss Brynn went to the front and said, "Third graders, I just found out we skipped a line in our song. All third graders need to come to the front so we can sing it again." Without hesitation, the class launched into the song again. This time I smiled then cried when they sang, "Parker is a computer whiz," and my buddy proudly acknowledged the compliment.
Parker knew his teacher loved him. He knew his class thought he was a whiz on the computer. He cried because he wanted us to see what they thought of him.
We all deserve to be recognized and spotlighted-no matter how old we are. Let's make that happen for the people around us. Deal?