>Brooke

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>Two postings in one week! See – I really am trying to be a better blogger! Oh the high aspirations I have…. : )

Today my heart is kind of troubled. I hope this next statement doesn’t shatter anyone’s illusions about teachers (if it does, then you must have always been a teacher’s pet), but unlike parents, we totally have favorites when it comes to our students. And my very favorite student of all time…..one that I will remember and think about in 20 years and wonder where she is and what she’s up to……well, her family is having a rough time. Her name is Brooke, and I’ve mentioned her before on my blog (before I accidentally deleted everything). If you remember, she’s the one who questioned about why buildings and landmarks are called “man-made” when they could have been built by a woman. Do you see why I love her?

So yesterday her dad came to each lunch with her. A big, burly, jeans-n-tshirt, warm smile kind of guy….reminds me of another certain dad I know 🙂 While I watched him eat lunch with her, it was obvious that she is a daddy’s girl and that they both simply adore one another. She was beaming with pride to have her daddy there, and in turn, he was beaming with happiness from spending time with his daughter.

After he left I motioned for Brooke to come over to the teacher’s table so we could talk. I asked if she liked having her dad each lunch with her. “Oh yes!”. I asked if she was a Daddy’s Girl. Same reply. Then I asked what he did for a living. She said he was a mechanic, but he just got laid off two days ago. I don’t know why, but my heart just broke for her when she said that. I tried not to look worried or anything and just told her how great I thought it was that he chose to come eat lunch with her on one of his first days off – what a special little girl she must be to him. She grinned and shook her head yes.

Now I have no idea what their home life is like or what kind of financial situation they are in. Brooke is always such a sweet girl- works hard, is respectful, sort of quiet, has a few friends, but no real clique – just a great little individual. She seems like she comes from a nice, normal, middle-class family. And now, ever since hearing what happened, all I can think about is how the news of her dad’s layoff is affecting her. She’s been acting the same, but I am still curious.

I mean we hear about the economy and all the job losses and foreclosures, and unfortunately I know several adults who have been negatively impacted by it all, but for some reason, looking at it from a child’s point of view seems so different. It’s one thing to be an adult and to worry about stuff. At least we are of age and have the means to try and get a job when something like this happens. But for a kid, when it happens to their family, they must feel so helpless. They can’t do anything but sit back and watch how it affects their family.

I wonder if Brooke is worried. I wonder if she’s stressing over financial matters that are too big for her 12 year old mind. I wonder if she feels guilty about whatever money she might spend or ask for. I don’t know- I just wonder.

In all honesty, she could be fine and not thinking much about it at all. I really do hope that’s the case. I hope she is getting to just be a kid and trust that mom and dad will take care of it all. Maybe I’m putting too much of myself and my own background with money into her story. But still. I think it’s something worth thinking about.

So if you could, if you believe in prayer, will you please lift Brooke and her family up? And of course, not just her, but all the families out there dealing with economical struggles, and more specifically, the children who are inadvertently affected by these things that are beyond their control. I know that’s a lot to pray for. And I know I often feel so overwhelmed by such general, broad stroke prayers (help the homeless….heal all the sick babies, etc.), and if you’re like that too, then maybe focusing in on Brooke will be easier. Thank you so much. I truly do believe in prayer and the more voices going up to God, the better. On that note, if you’ve been following baby Catherine’s story (her blog is one of my links), she too is struggling right now and is in need of prayers as well. Again, thank you 🙂

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3 responses »

  1. >Wow, that is so sad and heart-breaking, especially since Brooke seems so sweet and innocent. What an awful situation…however, in my experience, kids (even adolescents) really are resilient. Sure, they get stressed about things and they pick up on situations that their parents are worried about and sometimes take on their burdens, too. It’s hard for them not to these days, considering any time they see a news story it’s about the horrible state of the economy and how it won’t get better anytime soon! I’m sure a lot of kids are stressing, which is really sad.Having said that, I really think that kids aren’t as sensitive as we often fear. In Brooke’s situation, it seems like her dad really cares about her and is committed to making her life easier (coming to visit her). Judging from her academic performance, she must have supportive parents that want the best for her. She also has friends and a good reputation in school (based on what you said). If anyone is well positioned to get through a hard family time, it’s her! It seems like her dad is a good guy who will help her feel better. Does the mother work? I would be inclined to watch her, like you said, and look for signs of worry, like failing to complete assignments, distraction, etc. But if you don’t see anything, it’s very possible that she is well-adjusted and has a good support base. Kids know the economy sucks, and I’m sure they stress – but they’re essentially kids, and adolescents in particular have a lot of stuff on their plate even aside from troubles like that.This is something I’m sure that hits you hard as a teacher on several levels. Not only are your kids dealing with layoffs, but you and your colleagues are! One of my grad school teachers is also a high school English teacher at a local school, and they just had a massive round of layoffs there. 😦 Sadly, they based the decision on time spent teaching and degrees held – not on any sort of qualitative factors. So a few of her really great, inspirational new teacher friends got the axe while these old fuddy duddies who happened to be there a long time kept their jobs. Figures! The kids in her school are realy upset and are writing letters to local officials. My point is, it’s hitting everyone. Call me naive, but I really think people know that it will pass. We’ve all heard stories of the Great Depression, and we all know this is nowhere near as bad. We’ve been through much worse as a country, and I do think it helps that everyone is in it together. I know that seems like it makes it worse, but I think its’ easier for kids and their parents, knowing that many of their friends and neighbors are in the same situation – as opposed to being the only one on the block who got laid off, ya know? Maybe I’m wrong.Well, I will definitely say a prayer for Brooke, and for little Catherine. 😦 I struggle with my beliefs in prayer, but it certainly can’t hurt. Keep us posted on Brooke and how she’s doing!

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