Making the World a Better Place

By Belinda Strebel

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The 4th Annual A to Z Literacy Dodgeball Tournament has left me a bit breathless. From running the halls Tuesday morning looking for players, fielding Connor’s hourly dodgeball questions, finding kids last minute players and trying to imagine new and fun ways to make this year’s event the greatest yet…I am exhausted. But, in the very best of ways. The slow trickle of kids coming into my room Monday, growing into a wave of enthusiasm on Friday afternoon, reminds me that giving up is never an option. When you are in the business of telling kids that they can make this world a better place, throwing in the towel and blaming a slow start on apathy is not the answer. Running the halls and being a crazy, flexible, creative, persistent problem solver is one of the best ways to show kids how to continue on even when things aren’t going their way. Because I truly believe that kids can change the world for the better; they just have to see some examples.

So when I think about Nathan and Johnny winning that game, the Big Bertha’s having way too much fun losing, and the Dodgeball Divas having to shave their hair, I hope that the kids remember the Viking spirit ringing through the gym, the cheering and laughing. I hope they never forget what it feels like to be a kid, getting caught up in a wave of energy. And I hope that they know that Friday wasn’t just about dodgeball. In participating, they were helping to create an enthusiasm for learning at Bernotas and halfway across the world. Because you can have fun and make the world a better place, right? What better lesson is there for a middle schooler, or really anyone, to learn? I think none.

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