“Our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children,” Walt Disney.
We have all heard someone say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” While I fully understand what they are trying to say, the fact of the matter is, they have it backwards. Here is how things really work – until you can believe it, you will never see it.
Until you believe that you can be successful, you never will be. Until you believe that you can turn your life around from a life of crime or drugs, you never will. Until a person believes that they can accomplish any goal in life, they never will. No one has ever accomplished anything before they believed that it was possible.
That is why it is so very important to brag on the teachers and staff of the Blytheville Primary School. They are doing what it takes to make those precious children believe in themselves and in their future.
I had the distinct honor of being asked to read a Christmas book to a classroom of adorable second graders this week. I read the fun little book called “Santa Is Coming to Arkansas” by Steve Smallman. My time with that class was absolutely too short and I desperately hope to do it again very soon.
But this column is not about me; it’s about the BPS. We all know that what our children see, hear and repeat gets into their hearts and minds. We also know that the elementary years of a child’s development are the formative, foundational years that held decide their future lives.
Knowing those things, I am confident in saying that Blytheville’s future is very bright!
Here are a few observations from my visit to BPS. When I first walked in through the front door, there is security. It didn’t feel obtrusive or prisonlike, but rather it felt like a place where people are welcome to visit, but at the same time the children are entirely safe because you can’t just drop in and walk around without staff knowing you are there. Good job!
Next, when I walked in the first hallway, I noticed a playful, artistic statue that shows kids around a book. They look happy and it depicts how fun books and learning can be. That is a great first impression for all that walk in, because it is true. Reading and education adds to a person’s quality of life. Even the bathroom had a quote on the mirror that gave encouragement – more positive food for their little eyes and minds – same thing in the hallways. Good job!
Those that guided the volunteer readers did so with organization and precision. They made me feel excited to be there and entirely welcome. They also made me wish that I could return to elementary school myself…as a student! Good job!Next I saw, heard and “felt” the presence of warm, loving staff, teachers and volunteers. The love, kindness and gentleness were palpable. Terrific job!
I was directed to the classroom that I was scheduled to read the story to and when I entered the room I was met by a beautiful, kind, smiling, gentle soul of a teacher that I believe is named Ms. Poole (If I am wrong, please forgive me. I was overwhelmed with so many things to see that I forgot to write the name down.)
She welcomed me into her classroom, where I finally got to lay eyes on the darling children. They were all sitting at their desks, nice and proper, clean and orderly, polite and well behaved…in essence a perfect Rockwellian classroom.
I was introduced to the young scholars and was permitted to stand before our future Blytheville leaders, educators, business owners, parents and athletes. What a privilege! I asked a few questions before I began the book and they all lit up, giving full participation, politely raising their hands to quickly answer any question that I posed. You could tell that they enthusiastically enjoyed story time! I did too. They were perfect!
I read the book, trying to not read too fast or too slow, making an effort to make sure that all of the eager (to learn) students could see all pictures of the quaint book. It was wonderful. In fact, I have to be honest; I haven’t had that much fun since I read stories to my daughter almost twenty years ago. I honestly long to be a grandpa now, because each and every one of those children were so special and adorable, that I’d love to take them all home with me!
So the bottom line is I want to tip my hat to all the staff, administration and teachers of the Blytheville Primary School. They deserve it. I’m sure there is room for improvement there, but I saw none. What I saw was a perfect school with perfect children and perfect school employees.
So, the question that I am left with is how can we keep from ruining those precious adorable children? I am convinced that we simply must build a future worthy of them. We can do that by not trying to make them into smaller versions of us, but perhaps we should become more like them: loving more, being honest, enjoying each other more, cooperating with each other more… loving and not hating.
Lord help us.