I saw an old friend today. Most teachers probably don’t think of past students as old friends, but I do. The years I spent teaching special students like Matthew were among the most rewarding years of my teaching career. This young man greeted each day with a smile, and his laughter lifted up those who worked with him even on even the gloomiest days.
As a writer, I try to make my characters believable, and resilient. No one understands resiliency better than children, now young adults, who have to face a world full of obstacles, day in, day out. When I put my characters through difficult situations, I tend to remember those young people who taught me the true meaning of joy and laughter — the students who looked life in the face and smiled in spite of the hardships they faced.
I enjoyed seeing Matthew today and the smile on his face reminded me of those children who touched my life so many years ago. Every now and then, it’s great to take a trip down memory lane.