May 31, 2007


Here they are, six feet up, on top of the monkey bars and basking in the glow of each other's company. Happy to just be and to share in the glory of the moment. A lesson in grace.

I just got off the phone with a friend who teaches ESL in a public school, whose students recently went through another round of unavoidable hours-long testing because of some No Child Left Behind provision aimed at accountability. As relative newcomers to the country, they naturally found taking a test designed for native-speakers pretty demoralizing.

And I couldn't help but think about all the young people I know, the friends that my discerning son is now starting to choose for himself. (Gone are the days when I could strap him into his car seat and just have him tag along to wherever I wanted to go; he now has opinions and requests in the matter.) And I have to say that so far I like his taste. He likes friends with active imaginations, friends who will climb and run with him, friends who will listen, friends who know that there's not really any such thing as "girl colors" and "boy colors."

He knows all his letters, and most of the sounds they make, but he hasn't really focused his energies on reading reading. His friend, E, pictured above, is finding some of the academic pieces of first grade really challenging. But they are each of them GREAT kids, and I cringe at the thought of either of them heading into school and coming out thinking that they're somehow "less than" because of some standardized test.

In friends, in co-workers, in random strangers on the sidewalk, I care about so much more than whatever those tests are trying to measure. Am I setting myself up for a slow march to insanity by earning my living as a college counselor, in a world where for so many those tests are the coin of the realm?

I am trying to teach my students about grace. I am trying to lean towards grace in my own life. And luckily for me, I am witness to daily examples of grace: in my son's deeply dimpled smiles, his unthinking and wordless songs as he skips along, and in his warm concern for the well-being of his friends.

(Thanks to the women of Mama Says Om
for their continuing inspiration.)

1 comment:

Chelle said...

He gets those wonderful qualities from his mother who knows better than anyone how to truly care about others and how to build community. I love this picture. It is so clear that the two of them are reveling in each other's company.