These last couple of days, I’ve been giving up some of my conference period to attend some of my former students’ Rights of Passage presentations. Rights of Passage, or ROP, is this new school-wide program that we adopted that has kids look at the good things they have done for themselves and their community. It’s supposed to make kids feel like Middle School weren’t just those awkward years we all remember.

When they talked to us about this program at the beginning of the year, I was confused. Then, I thought it was a drag. Then, I just sort of paid no mind to it unless I had to. But now, I think it’s really, really cool.

As grown ups, we are constantly needing to take stock in our life. When the invisible monkeys the Universe hires, fling their poo at us or in our general direction, we have the tendency to look at what is good in our lives and remember that things will and do get better. For some of us, this skill wasn’t learned until much later in life. Given the lives of some of the students at our school, I think it is important for them to learn to do this now.

I still have two more to attend, but I’ve really enjoyed going to them. Being the total sap that I can be, I thought I would be crying through some, but I haven’t. I’ve just been so happy to see all of the great things some of these kids have done. Kids who I had two years ago and still want to share their accomplishments with me. My favorite part is when they say, “In five years, I see myself…” because in my mind, there is no doubt that they will be where they imagine.

It is a pleasant end to a rough, rough year. It reminds me what it is that convinced me to go into this profession: kids jammed packed with potential.

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