Four days went by as Fort Lauderdale city parking officers slapped tickets on a parked car before someone took a closer look and noticed the driver still in the vehicle—dead.
Just think about it! Five parking tickets piled up on the vehicle’s windshield over the course of four days before the man was found inside! (The 62-year-old man had passed away from natural causes at least three days before being discovered.) Hard to believe it, right? How in the world did the parking meter attendants not see that someone was at the steering wheel while writing the citations—all five of them?
This outrageous story causes me shake my head in unbelief, but it also compels me to stop and ask—how good am I at noticing people, particularly the children in my classroom?
Do I notice my children?
It’s a very important question, because to be noticed is to be loved.
Invisibility is an epidemic today. It’s widespread, it’s deadly and no one is immune. You don’t need to go far to find proof. Just go to the nearest mall and look at the couples, families or friends in the food court. You’ll see people staring at their screens instead of looking at each other. They’re at the same table, yet in different universes; they are within each other’s reach, yet unseen and unavailable.
Deep in the heart of every human being is the God-ordained desire to be noticed, discovered and fully accepted. The opposite side of this desire is the fear of becoming a nonperson, a shadow, a ghost.
I have a 3-year-old son, and a phrase I hear from him often is this, “Watch THIS, Daddy!”
He’s about to skip over a branch on the ground…”Watch this, Daddy!”
He’s about to strike a powerful superhero pose…”Watch this, Daddy!”
He’s about to draw a picture…”Watch this, Daddy!”
He’s about to jump off the couch…”Watch this, Daddy!”
He’s about to go through a puddle on his tricycle…”Watch this, Daddy!”
What’s behind his plea? A desperate need to be noticed. He needs someone to be an eye-witness to his moments, achievements and adventures.
Watch this, Daddy!
He needs to know that his life matters and that it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Watch this, Daddy!
Plain and simple: A life unnoticed is no life at all.
Your students won’t ever tell you this, but like all human beings, they long to be known. They desperately want to feel that they and their life stories matter. That’s why it’s so important that you take every chance you get to enter into their world and explore it.
I know that most of us see our students only on Sunday or at special events—the two busiest and craziest times in our schedule. This means that if we are not careful, we can fill the heads of our children with knowledge, their tummies with snacks, their hands with crafts and prizes, their time with fun activities, and yet, after all of that, still send them home empty-hearted.