The other day after school I had a visitor.
One of my female students asked to sit in my room and work.
I don't say no unless I have to leave.
While we worked on our respective tasks, we chatted.
I've known this girl all year.
She is an amazing kid who is incredibly centered.
And our conversation is the most impressed I've been yet.
She told me that her ex-boyfriend had been arrested.
I think ex-boyfriend is the right idea?
She said it was someone she used to talk to?
Her frank assessment of the situation was remarkable.
The young man's father had called her several times to tell her about what happened.
As she explained it, the kid got caught with a gun.
Though she was deeply disappointed, she was also unusually insightful.
She explained that he had been doing well when they were together.
He went to class, and started raising his grades, and stopped trying so hard to prove how terribly tough he is.
Then they broke up or whatever they call it now.
Immediately, he regressed back to his worst self.
Which is what led to his current incarceration.
I listened in awe as she talked.
She understood his weaknesses and strengths.
She was aware of her role in his choices.
At one point she said, "I just realized, I can't babysit somebody. That's not a good relationship."
I want her to make an inspirational video for teenage girls everywhere, hell for all women everywhere.
It should be played on repeat from ages 12-25.
Then she went on to break down the worst relationships among her peers.
Most adults aren't as aware of the subtleties in the relationships they see.
Then she told me the most impressive thing of all.
Apparently, someone is spreading nasty rumors and photos about a boy she knows.
What upset her the most was seeing other kids share the pictures around.
Her exact words were, "They pretend like it's so awful. And I'm like, then why are showing everyone and talking about it? You're just making it worse!"
Be still my heart.
That child gets gossip.
She went on to explain that the kid in question has been suicidal before.
When he didn't show up to school for a day, she went straight to her principal and told him everything.
Remember when I said she impressed me? Can you see why?
The courage it takes to tell like that, the maturity to understand why you should, those are rare and beautiful traits.
On top of her clear understanding of herself and her peers, I'm just floored.
I want to clone her.
I want to honor her.
I want to protect her.
I want to nurture her.
There is nothing I have done to make her so totally awesome.
It's a good thing I get to enjoy her, and maybe even support her, for a little while.
Being a small part of the lives of kids like her are one of the things I love most about teaching.
No matter how trying kids can be, they are also full of good things.