Staring at you are 24 pairs of eyes giving you the chance to look into their lives. You notice fairly quickly: one student has droopy eyes, one student’s eyes are shining like the sun, one student will not make eye contact, and one student could stare a hole right through you.
Eyes tell stories; stories of happiness and joy, pain and sorrow, anguish and anger, shyness and timidness…
Students come and leave from one school year to the next, but words live forever. We have this tool that often goes unused or used incorrectly. Our voice. Our words. An everlasting tool that God gave us to encourage, inspire, and share. It is up to us how we use this tool.
Every year, I emphasize the importance of the use of our words… to be a “filler” and not a “dipper”... That words are powerful, can make a lasting impact, and can not be taken away.
I hand the students a tube of toothpaste, a paper plate, toothpick, and a pencil. Next, I instruct them to open the toothpaste and squeeze it out onto the paper plate. Now on to their mission, I explain that they have three minutes to get the toothpaste back into the tube using the tools that I gave them. Some are confident and some not so much. The timer starts… I can see the curiosity in their eyes as to why they are participating in this activity. As you probably have already inferred, this task is not so easy. The timer goes off and there are their eyes, staring at you in defeat. Then I ask the simple question, How is toothpaste like our words? Eyes start to change shape as the confusion and defeat change. After a while of processing this question, I lead the discussion as to why toothpaste are like our words.
Yes. This lesson takes time out of the day, but sets the tone for the rest of the year in my classroom. It is even a reminder to me; how important my words are to all that I come into contact with.
So, back to the telling eyes… I can be the ONE voice for all children. A voice of a mentor, a caregiver, an advocate, a mother, an encourager, and an inspirer… That students will carry with them through their journey of life.
My voice… can make a difference in the droopy eyes, in the eyes that will not look at me, in the eyes filled with anger, and even in the eyes that are shining.