Everybody Matters

It’s the second week of school and we are all settling into a routine.  The boys are doing a great job at daycare and I am so thankful for the love and the learning environment they are in 2days/wk.  I am amazed how quickly the days at work have gone and get very excited to pick them up!  Thank you so much for those that continue to lift our family up in prayer.  We are getting geared up for our trip to NYC to see Jack’s picture in Time Square!  So excited!!

So the phrase Everybody Matters has been posted around my gymnasium for the last 5 years.  In early September 2008, I had heard this phrase many times at the funeral of one of my college roommate’s mother who was an ECFE teacher in St. Paul and devoted her life to educating children.  Her family and friends talked about how she loved and cared for her students and their families, that everybody mattered.  I left that funeral encouraged by a woman that I didn’t know very well, except through a few conversations, and the friendship of her daughter.  Through her family, career, life, and death I was inspired by how she educated everybody.

As I have headed back to school this year I couldn’t help but think of that simple phrase.  Everybody Matters.  Everybody.  What does that mean?  Even the student that constantly interrupts me while teaching?  The student that says hurtful words to others?  The student that is always helpful? The student that never stays on task?  The student that is easily motivated? The student that can’t afford tennis shoes for class?  The student that doesn’t speak English?  The student that doesn’t understand my directions? The student that defiantly misbehaves or has a poor attitude?  The student that answers all the questions correctly?  The student that is developmentally delayed?  The student that is athletically gifted? The student that has a hard home life?

When I became Luke’s mom in 2011 I had this overwhelming understanding of this amazing realization…here is a portion of what I wrote in Luke’s baby book when he was 1 year old…

Luke, you have helped me realize on a much deeper level that everybody matters.  If I looked at others the way I look at you, I would be much more patient, kind, forgiving, and compassionate.

Through this experience of teaching and motherhood, I have understood that each student I have matters to someone. More importantly, each child was created in God’s image.  Ultimately as a Christian I have been told this many times.  He made us, loves us, refines us, molds us, forgives us, and guides us.  If I have this type of love for my own children, I can’t imagine the love that God has for all of us.  In a society where we are constantly being told that we have to earn love, we don’t deserve love, that love and success is earned by our accomplishments, and many other lies.  I am thankful to have a Heavenly Father that says you were created in my image and I love you because I made you.

At each start to the school year since 2008 I have told each of my classes this…

“Everybody matters.  Each person in this space matters to me and matters to those around them.  If you hurt one of my students with hurtful words or actions you are not only hurting them, you are hurting me because I care about them.  You are also hurting the people that love them.  Your actions affect others and everybody in here matters.  This will be a safe place.  Your classmates may look different than you, talk different than you, run different, throw different, but ultimately they matter.  You have a choice with your words and actions and they are powerful.  They are either either helpful or hurtful.  You decide because EVERYBODY MATTERS.”

Ephesians 4:29
Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those that hear them.  

So I ask myself this today…who do I need to give more patience, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to and realize that they matter to someone?

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