Yesterday, Hubster and I attended our children’s primary school for weekly assembly. Our girl was receiving a Values Award.
Each week, teachers observe the students in action, either at play or in the classroom, for behaviour that aligns with the school’s key values: Respect, Community, Perseverance, Integrity and Innovation. They select a student who then receives the award during assembly. It is a surprise for the student, but the awards are communicated to the parents towards the end of the week prior, in case they wish to be present. Of course, some students, on seeing their parents at assembly, can quickly gauge an award might be coming their way, but given I have three children at this primary school, it is for them still a small and pleasant shock at who is receiving it.
When the school communicates to parents the list of students to receive the award, we are not advised which value it relates to, or the behaviour that brought it on. This, I guess, is the surprise component for us. On the award certificate (see image), there is a small note that outlines what the child did to catch the attention of the teaching staff.
At assembly yesterday, Hubster and I were thrilled to watch her again (her third award since they were brought into the school last year) walk up to receive the certificate for behaviour relating to the value of Community. My heart pushed against my rib cage. Pride coursed through my veins, warming my body to the tips of my fingers to hear she was spotted at last week’s swimming carnival, gathering and leading a cheer squad to help her friend who was struggling to finish her heat in butterfly stroke.
Overnight, I received an email from a friend who moved to the UK midway through last year. She wrote about how her two daughters had settled into school, and how she was beginning to find her feet, and new friends. In a section of the email, my friend mentioned that she had begun volunteer work in London. This work enabled her to get alongside young families who are struggling to cope, due to depression, twins or high order multiples, anxiety, or any of the ways toddlers and babies can bring challenges.
My friend’s email and my girl’s award reminded me that we all need help to get through life. We all need friends to cheer us on. Regardless of whether we are nine years old or forty, struggling with butterfly (who wouldn’t??) or a new baby. It is so important to find a way to encourage others, to sit alongside someone who feels lost, to be the sun in a person’s dark and dreary life.
Sometimes it takes something as small as coffee and conversation, other times it involves rounding a cheer squad.
But it all makes a difference to someone.