Sometimes it is easy for me to forget how much of an honor it is to be able to get to do what I get to do. One of our Aikido youth's family told me that they were moving away. They very nicely thanked me for my patience and work with their daughter and explained that they didn't know if they'd move back later or not.
During our final class with her, some of the usual students didn't show up, so it was just her and me. We spent the time playing many of her favorite games and doing drills that she enjoyed; she is a very shy girl and also very quiet, but with just me there, she spoke up and answered questions that she normally wouldn't answer at all or volunteered opinions that she would often not voice. Watching her play the games, I was amazed at just how far she has come both socially and physically. Her improvement in comfortably interacting with me was leaps and bounds ahead of where it started--and I was honored and touched that she'd grown to trust me that much. Her coordination was also light years ahead of where she started. Some of the games that she was doing well now she couldn't have even attempted when she started.
As we were playing and she was smiling and I was reflecting on this growth, I was very humbled that God had placed me in a position of impact in this young girl's life. I'm not sure how many of our moral lessons she'll remember, or how many of the physical skills, but to get to see so much positive social progress and coordination development alone made me very happy. It also highlighted how often I can overlook the value and potential benefit that teaching kids classes can have. Though I know in my head that each lesson can impact youth in positive ways, it is important for me to remember in my busy days just how big of a statement that is and how much more I can focus in on teaching--and enjoying teaching--my kids classes at the Dojo. Near the end of class, some other students showed up for the second class, and I asked them to join the mats for her final request (since it required more people). One of the new kids tried to influence this young girl to change her decision on how the last game was to be played; normally this student can influence her to do whatever this student wants. I was again surprised--and quite proud--when she audibly, and loudly said 'no', she would do it the way she'd originally picked. Her confidence and ability to stick to her guns was a final blessing to be able to see. Thank God for a chance to see some fruit in a harvest field that I often can forget is even there! It is a field that has more impact that I may even know.