This past weekend I served at a soup kitchen where our church cooks and serves a meal for people who could use some good food. This time the kitchen crew was comprised of people who were new to their jobs and among them was a woman who was over 90. She worked alongside the line that served the food and helped organize and keep the area clean. She certainly kept up with the rest of the workers and even looked for more to do when we had a minute or two to spare.
We had a couple of minutes before the servers came, and Dot told me the story of her birth. She was born during a snowstorm in Chicago, but the surprising thing was that she weighed only one pound at birth. One pound over 90 years ago and here she was, serving other people. I said, “Wow, Dot, not only did you grow, but you thrived!” She looked at me and said that she was ill for much of the first 24 years of her life. She was sickly, had eye problems, and even missed 8 months of school one year. Yet, she managed to grow up, marry, and have children.
Looking at this stylish 90+ woman, you would never know the miracle of her life. It made me think of how much of other people’s stories we never know or see. I think there is a lesson for all of us, but especially the students in our care who struggle to learn. Perhaps we should remind them that the struggle is valuable and they will grow and prosper with work. Persistence is more of an indicator of success than smarts. It isn’t easy to watch some children learn with ease while other children have to fight for everything. Next week the blog will talk about how we can help these children with a change in language. Meanwhile, take a look at the children in your care. We never know the whole story.