I pulled into the school’s parking lot this afternoon just before the bell rang to end lunch recess. There’s a metal gate that separates cars from children. Gathering my stuff, I slid out of Ruby and started for the office.
And then I looked to my right. Six or seven Grade 5 and 6 kids were leaning over the gate towards me. One girl yelled out something like “I know who you are!” She meant that I was Bruce Kerr but in a deeper way these young ones do “get” me. They know I love them. They know I challenge them to be full human beings. They know I make them laugh.
I walked up to the throng and tried to absorb all the words that were flying my way. Apparently a professional wrestler had been speaking at this morning’s assembly and the general consensus was that he was totally cool. As the collective babbling reached a crescendo, I understood: They wanted to hang out with me. They wanted me to know what they were thinking and feeling. The lean was real.
After signing in at the office, I headed to the classroom. Silent reading held sway for the first fifteen minutes. I sat in a chair at the edge of the carpet and pulled up The Last Leopard on my phone, the closest kids only a few inches away. Jeremy remarked that I had quite a crew around me. He was right. Children often come close.
Towards the end of the day, I put on my coat and told the students that I was heading to Toronto for a few days, especially to hear a marvelous choir from Los Angeles on Saturday evening. One boy asked me whom I was going with. “Me.” A girl said “Take me.” And then a young guy said the same. Somehow I don’t think parents would be too interested in that prospect.
So what do I make of all this? Humbly, I know that I impact many children. I wish I had grandkids of my own. But I don’t. What’s left for me are the hours at school, in which there are minutes of connection between 11-year-olds and a 71-year-old.
What a blessing to reach young souls
What a blessing to contribute to the lives of others
What a blessing to walk the paths of the planet … with you