Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I get on a flight to Providence tomorrow evening. I cannot wait to see old friends and family, but I can already predict that my students will never leave my mind.

I have all my students keep a journal in which they respond to prompts I have given them. One prompt asks the students to recall their hardest decision. One of my favorite students, a boy I'll call Mansor, had a particularly striking response: "choosing between living with my mom or living with my dad." Though I realize this is a decision that must be made by many children who have divorced parents, the story of how Mansor had to make the decision has stayed on my mind since I read his journal.

Immediately following a domestic dispute in Mansor's house (during which his parents fought physically as Mansor, his brother, and his sister tried to pull them apart), Mansor's mother scooped him up and placed him in the back seat of the family's car. Bags packed, she told the children she was leaving their father for good. Screaming for his father, Mansor opened the car door as his mother was backing out of the driveway and jumped out of the car, running back to the house and his father. A few weeks later, Mansor, his parents, and his siblings appeared in family court. Upon being asked with whom he wanted to live, Mansor picked his father while his siblings chose their mother. He was nine years old.

Though many (myself included) may, at first, doubt some of the details in this story, I have no reason to believe this boy would lie to me, particularly in his journal. All I am left thinking is how I would have deal with that situation, or a similar one, at that age, and how such a decision would effect the rest of my life. I am sure that I would not be able to be as happy and outgoing as this young man seems to be. Many of my students drive me crazy on a daily basis. But there certainly are moments when I stand in awe of them. Those are the moments that make this journey so bearable, even on the bad days.


Blogger dd adams said...

let me know how it goes - im headed up north next weekend.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Buffy Summers said...

It's true. I am also in awe of them much of the time. Sometimes I feel like it makes it difficult to be hard on them. The more I know about their personal lives, the more difficult it becomes, because there are days that it just seems wrong to discipline the kid who gets abused every night or goes home to watch younger brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, etc. I still do it, but it's hard.

10:30 PM  

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