If you're ever having a bad day or down in the dumps, spend some time around a kid. They can always cheer you up. Case in point: last Thursday the 3rd graders had a big practice for their evening presentation of "The Drum". Our wonderful music teacher, Mrs. Oberst, had been leading practice sessions for weeks and the 3rd graders were dizzy with excitement and nerves. So, I lined my little ones up in our classroom to head down to the dress rehearsal in the proper order by announcing each name. They pushed their chairs in and bounced over to their position in line. You could feel the energy.
We approached the back stage door and waited patiently for the first two classes to enter. As my students walked up the steps back stage, I smiled at each of them and said, "Smile!" making a big sweep with my hands for emphasis. They couldn't help but smile back as they hurried on their way.
The rehearsal wasn't the best practice I've ever seen. The kids were noisy. They were squiggly and full of nervous energy. They missed some of their lines and forgot to go to their instruments. By the end of practice, the music teacher looked a bit exasperated with them. I reminded her how they always pull through for the performance and I assured her they would be great!
And then, later that night, when I lined them up in the classroom, for the real performance, I told them all how proud I was of them. I told them to remember to smile and have fun! And I said to them that if they got nervous they could look at me. I'd be right up front in the first row.
As their little voices sang in their cute little kid way, and they all perfectly executed their lines and played their instruments, I got a little teary eyed. I'm proud of them every day when they try their best and learn. I'm proud of them when I see them invite a friend to play at indoor recess or say, "Excuse me" when they bump into someone. I'm proud of them when I see them invite a younger brother or sister to eat lunch with them. I'm proud of them when I see them ask for help or try something on their own. I'm proud of them when I hear them read to me and I see them excitedly looking for books in the Media Center.
And I'm as proud as their parents when I see them on stage singing. And smiling.
One of the songs that had been playing on repeat in my head every time I picked them up from music the past few weeks was called, "It's How You Look At Life".
And as I listened to them sing and I watched the parents smiling, I realized it is, truly, how you look at life.
We could all learn a lesson from the tiny little singers.