It happens every year around this time. Social media lights up with the happy news of college acceptances, dances, parties, and school awards. Smiling faces beam as parents share the accomplishments of their children. And of course they should celebrate these things. When hard work pays off there should be recognition and celebration, right?
While I am not an advocate of giving awards for just continuing to breathe (that’s its own reward, eh?), I admit I sometimes get weary of watching some awesome kids get overlooked again and again while other equally awesome kids get rewarded over and over. The overlooked ones endure the season of ceremonies, parties, and graduations, never once hearing their name announced and yet they have so much to offer the world. The world just doesn’t know it yet.
So here’s to the brave ones, the kids who sit alone in the cafeteria day after day and still show up.
The kids who don’t get invited to the parties and proms, who are left at home to see on social media all the fun they missed.
The kids who work extra hard and study for hours for that big test, only to receive a disappointing grade yet again.
The kids who get pushed around in the school hallways or on the playground by bullies and get back up time after time.
I see you trying. You matter. You’re a winner in my eyes.
Here’s to the ones who have a less-than-ideal home life, who worry about what’s going to happen next.
The ones who don’t live in a house, who live in a shelter or with family, or even in a car.
The ones who hate for school to end because with the school year ends the hot meals they can rely on at least five days of the week.
The ones who see violence and abuse in the home, sometimes against themselves, for whom school represents safety.
You deserve a medal. And a safe home, and a hot meal, and relief from worry. You’re a winner because you persevere.
The kids for whom simply sitting still in class and paying attention require monumental effort.
The ones who struggle at reading or writing or math because they have a condition like dyslexia or dysgraphia or dyscalculia, and it’s invisible so it either goes undetected or unassisted. (yes, those are all real things)
The kids who fly so far under the radar that they fade into the background and are forgotten by both classmates and teachers.
You are special, intricately crafted in the image of your Creator. You are made to do big things. Don’t ever forget that. You’re a winner to me.
The ones who don’t make the sports team or the Honor Roll or the class play, but still keep trying.
The kids who feel like they are not good at anything because they don’t fit the world’s mold.
The ones who are talented and gifted, but not in the ways that a school or the world normally recognizes.
Keep trying, dear ones. People are noticing and applauding you, even if you don’t see it. You are uniquely gifted by the One who made you.
One day these children will grow up and it’s quite likely that none of them will remember who won what award in 3rd grade, or 6th grade, or 11th grade, unless perhaps they were one of the award winners.
For all the kids out there who are feeling left out, not worthy, and unseen in this season: I stand and applaud you. The world needs you and your uniqueness. I wish I could hang a medal around your neck just so you could have a tangible reminder of how special you are.
For everyone who loves one of those kids, keep loving them wholeheartedly and without reservation or condition. They need to know someone’s in their corner and that they have a safe place to land so they can become all that God created them to be.
And for all you teachers out there going beyond the call of duty, I honor you for the way you love “your” kids. You share your heart, your wallet, your talents, your time, and sometimes your lunch to give them the best school experience possible. I see you, and God sees your sacrifices for these precious ones. They are jewels in your crown, treasure being laid up in Heaven.
Hang in there, sweet ones. Your time is coming.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4