Monday, August 19, 2013

Little Moments

August 19, 2013

Today was the first day of school, and I started off my day with morning duty out by the parking lot.  Not my favorite way to start the day, but it's part of the job sometimes--what can you do? Even though I don't particularly like duty, I was privileged to get to peer into some pretty wonderful moments as the campus began to fill up.  I watched as moms nervously dropped off their kids for their first day of high school, some of them stopping to snap a quick photograph--some of them even clandestinely after their kids had already turned away, walking toward friends and familiar faces.  I watched kids greet each other cheerily, happy to see one another in person after having to rely on only Facebook and tumblr updates all summer.  There were sleepy kids, unused to rolling out of bed before noon.  There were dads smiling wistfully as their kids clamored out of cars and mini-vans, wondering where the time had gone and when their small babies had ever gotten so big.  There were also seniors pulling into the lot, confident and excited about the first day of their reign as the ruling class of the school.  Moments and milestones in the making.

Two moments in particular were especially sweet, mainly because they were moments between brothers--the older looking after the younger in each case.  I caught a snippet of a conversation between two brothers as they were walking past me on the way to class in the English wing:

Younger Brother:  "...Yes, but can we?"
Older Brother:  "It depends.  Some teachers will let you chew gum.  Some teachers won't.  Just wait until they tell you.  They'll tell you the rules, and then you'll know."

Gum?  Not a big deal, right?  But it's the little things that reassure us--all of us--and let us know everything's going to be alright.  Younger Brother looked so nervous, not just about gum, but about HOW THINGS WERE GOING TO WORK.  And Older Brother, as if he knew the question wasn't just about gum, reassuringly let him know that although right now Younger Brother was walking into the Great Unknown, he was going to be okay.  He'd figure out the rules, learn the expectations, and be just fine.

The second exchange was even shorter.

Older Brother was dropping of a very young Younger Brother.  Older Brother wasn't a high school student--probably an early college student, so he was just dropping off.  Younger Brother looked nearly green with nervousness.  Older Brother to Younger Brother as he climbed out of car, brow furrowed in concentration:  "Hey...don't forget to smile."

Don't forget to smile--it's going to be okay.
Don't forget to smile--you'll make friends.
Don't forget to smile--a positive attitude goes a long way.
Don't forget to smile--you've got this!

Such a little thing, such a small moment, but he didn't have to do it.  He didn't have to throw that small bit of encouragement at his brother, but he did.  And it really made me like that kid.  There's something incredibly endearing about a kid who puts himself in someone else's shoes, especially his own younger brother or sister (who at home might be occasionally annoying or irritating, because sometimes that's how family members are) and recognize that just a small word or look at the right time can have a powerful impact.  I like to think Younger Brother remembered that throughout his day, and that it helped him have a good start to his high school career.

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