Every year in my school we run a 6th grade volleyball intramural. The kids compete with their homeroom classes during a season where their records are tabulated. It is really a fun competition and gets kids excited to compete for their home room teacher and bragging rights. The top 4 teams then play in a final four where the final match is played during the school day in front of the entire grade level. It is one of the highlights of the school year as the kids get really fired up to support one of the teams in the finals. For the kids that play in the final game, it is certainly a big deal to them. It is more so for the team that wins and is recognized in front of all of their peers. They even get a chance to play against the faculty in a fun game of volleyball. I can't help but think that for some of those students it is their moment; the moment where they truly shine. A moment they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Many of our students will never stand as valedictorian or be an all-conference athlete. They will not experience standing ovations during a concert or have their work published in the local paper. Some will, but most will not. However, their “moments” occur as seemingly insignificant events on any given day but stay with them a lifetime. While most of us would not think playing volleyball in front of a gym full of junior high kids is a big deal, for some kids it is an enormous deal.
I am confident that all of us can think back on our school days. Likely we reflect on our moments. Those times where it felt like we were on top of the world and everything was going our way. Some of us have more of those moments than others but I'm sure we can all name one time will the world seemed on our side and we were “IT”. As I think about this and those 6th graders that had their moment in front of their peers at school I wonder how we can help students have those moments.
I've always said that the smallest gesture or insignificant comment can stay with a kid for a lifetime. It is because of this that I'm always intentional and what I say and do around my students. However, I wonder if we can help kids experience a moment; a moment where they stand out and are truly special. Now I don't want that to be confused with the idea of every kid deserves a ribbon or a medal. I truly want every kid to be able to experience that moment or joy and success in a genuine manner. Every kid in our building has a talent or a skill. I just wonder if we do enough to allow those kids the opportunity to have that moment. The moment where all of their peers look to them and celebrate their actions. What are we doing to help kids have their moment?