If you feel a little down, spend some time with kids and surround yourself with joy. For them, little things mean so much. A smile, a kind word, a Tootsie Roll Pop now and then, mean the world to them.
Today I offered a Wii activity for the kids who had good grades so far this quarter. 12 kids played Mario Cart for thirty minutes in my room. They giggled and plotted against one another. No matter that every screen was basically the same race after race, for them each screen meant new adventures and fun with the other kids. One boy befriended me and jabbered excitedly for 30 minutes about how great he was at gaming. Every time he took a breath, the boy on my other side would catch my attention and start talking. Their joy was infectious.
A girl I thought hated me for nagging at her to stop talking, focus, and do her work, (the opposite of joy) came in before school to give me something under her jacket. I wasn't sure what to think about that, but she pulled out a DumDum Tree that she had made for me with suckers and Skittles. It was one of those "just because" presents that are even better than ones you expect.
Friday two of the girls wrote on my board at the end of the day. One drew cute little chicks and wrote a sweet note about me. The other girl asked me if she could draw a picture of poop on my board. I must have given her a strange look because she added, "Well, it's Ninja Poop." When I answered, "I don't know what to say to that. In all my years as a teacher, no one has ever asked me that before," the girls giggled and went back to their drawings. The Ninja Poop was a classic. Pictures had to be taken when they were done.
We all start as joyful souls, but our joy gets tainted as we get old and jaded. They keep my soul joyful and young, even when my body feels a million years old..