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Dear T

Dear T,

You may think of yourself only as a 12th grade football player, but today you became something else…my angel.

You walked into a guidance counselor’s office just as I was leaving, and after seeing me in tears, you said, “What’s this? Why are you crying?”

You didn’t know what had happened. In fact, before two weeks ago, you didn’t even know who I was. It was your Alabama shirt that gave me a reason to pause and give you a hard time…all in fun, of course. As we crossed paths after that first encounter, we always exchanged War Eagle/Roll Tide pleasantries.

Although you didn’t know why I was upset today, you gave me a hug as the counselor explained that I was crying because I cared so much for my students.

You and I are very different.

You are a teenager; I am an adult with grown children.

You are about to embark on some of the greatest and most poignant years of your life. I am, according to my friend Barb, middle-aged.

We come from vastly different worlds, yet we’ve formed a friendship born of SEC football and education.

You made my day when you reached out to me, and for that, I’ll always consider you more than a jock who wants to play ball at the “other school.”

You became God’s angel of mercy, and I thank you.

I feel sorry for those who do not have the opportunity to work with children, for they are missing out on experiences with some of the most wise, observant, and caring individuals that God created.

The Book Thief

Tuesday night, I finished The Book Thief.

At 576 pages, I’ll admit that even I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first opened this book.

Although it took me a few pages to get used to the voice of the narrator, I found myself drawn further and further into this book.

It is told from the perspective of Death, who observes (and cleans up) the mess left from WW2 and, specifically, Hitler’s reign of terror.

Death explains the happenings of a young girl who is taken in by foster parents after the death of her brother.  She is illiterate and, after stealing a book during the burial of her brother’s death, her new Papa teaches her to read.

It’s a slow, painful, yet poignant process.

In the meantime, she grows to love her new parents, her best friend, and even the mayor’s wife, who is a bit odd but provides even more books to read.

There were several points during my reading that I had to set this book aside…to think about what I’d just read.

I was moved to the point where I could no longer turn pages because I wanted to really absorb the messages being put forth.

I excitedly told my students about the book, and two young men were quick on the draw.  One easily gave up though (struggling readers are going to be very intimidated by this book).  The other young man took on the challenge.  I’m going to work with him closely, encouraging him to stick it out.

I think that if he does, his world will be opened up to larger-than-life messages about life, death, and the potential for change that words bring into each person’s life.

This book is a keeper…one that demands to be read, discussed, and treasured.

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