I start every morning with a community meeting, the bulk of which involves 5 or so students sharing news from their lives. Certain kids always tell mostly made-up goofy stories to get a good laugh from the crowd. Some kids go on and on and leave everyone wondering what they were talking about. Other times, a kid shares something truly important for us to know.
A couple of weeks ago, a child said, “Well, my mom is really sick. She has this sickness called pneumonia, and that’s what my great-grandmother died of, so I’m hoping my mom isn’t going to die too. And I’ve been writing a lot of notes about that.”
Thankfully, his mom is doing just fine. But what a weight for this child to be carrying on his shoulders! He of course doesn’t understand that pneumonia doesn’t mean the same for a 35 year old as it does for someone who is 80. The class made a card for his mom that afternoon, and we were all able to check in with him about his mom during the following days. I was so glad that he had the chance to share.
Another category of morning news is that which would make parents embarrassed. Children don’t hold back. We’ve heard about parents pulled over for running red lights, parents saying bad words, parents refusing to eat their vegetables, and parents sleeping in their underwear.
A few weeks ago, a student announced, “Well, my daddy actually has his own house, and I was supposed to go to his house this weekend, but I didn’t because we all stayed at my mommy’s house because my daddy and my mommy slept in the same bed because they’re trying to get back together again.” Her parents have been divorced for years.
It’s always funny to see parents at pick-up a few hours later and to feel like I’m in on one of their secrets. Usually, I don’t spill the beans, and what’s said at morning meeting, stays at morning meeting.