They come to us with it all hanging out, overflowing, hidden deep inside, misplaced. We see potential. Day after day, we hear, listen carefully, read body language, just be there-- and we see relationships develop. Sometimes we laugh at it, lecture about it, reflect on it, cry with it-- and we see souls so sweet. They come to us and we see potential-- the potential to be empathetic
They come to us with the basics, low skills, out-of-the box reasoning, sharp abilities. We see potential. Day after day, we repeat, repeat softly, repeat loudly, write it on the board-- and we see confusion lifting. Sometimes we tap to it, dance to it, juggle to it, set it on fire-- and we see sparks of thinking. They come to us and we see potential-- the potential to be brilliant.
They come to us skinny, too plump, shorter than the rest, adolescent-- We see potential. Day after day, we pull shirttails down, tie pantwaists up, marvel at their hair, wear ties together-- and we see nonconformity. Sometimes we praise it, giggle about it, ignore it, pray it goes out of style-- and we see steps of individuality. They come to us and we see potential-- the potential to be tolerant.
They come to us sixth graders, seventh graders, eighth graders-- We see potential. Day after day, we smile at them, motivate them, draw lines in the sand, hold them in our hearts-- and we see ourselves. Sometimes we complain about it, cheer about it, weep for it, imagine it years from now-- and we see our future. The come to us and we see tomorrow-- a tomorrow to be celebrated.