On one of the last days of the school year, Nora and I walked home from school together. Nora has a tendency to stop every five seconds to look at bugs, climb on things, or give someone a hug, and as Nora investigated something tiny in the grass nearby, the after-school flow of children moved around me. I watched them pass and saw a three-some of fifth graders walk by, laughing and engaged in their conversation.
I know these kids from the Spanish class I volunteer-taught. I don’t really know them, but I have a feel for their personalities, how comfortable they are speaking Spanish, how engaged they had been during our time together. As I stood there and they walked on, I had this flash-vision forward in time and all at the same time, I could see them as middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, young adults, and full-on adults… with professions and relationships and rich inner lives. I do, intellectually, know that kids will grow up, but this was more that knowing. It was like a vision. I could see it and I understood it in a way that I just hadn’t before. Not only will these kids be adults in the not so distant future, but I know them and as they continue with their schooling alongside Hazel, my fifth-grader, I’ll probably see them and interact with them and may have the opportunity to get to know them. And knowing them now means I’ll know them later, too. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it was a touching revelation. This is something that I’ve missed. I cried a little as I stood there and all these other young, wonderful people walked by.
When I was a kid, I remember the few adults who had this kind of perspective. They held a long-term kind of view when I did something shitty to my friend/their kid or I said something disrespectful. Instead of writing me off in the moment, they held this vision of what was to come and that this was just a moment in a long life. They interacted with me with consideration and interest. Now I know how they did that. And I certainly remember how I felt with them.
NEW CLASS SERIES BEGINS In Austin, TX
THURSDAY, AUGUST 6th