Every Wednesday, I spend a couple of hours during lunchtime at Travis Middle School. I meet with a cross-section of students from each grade level for something we call the Get Real Club. Basically, we sit and discuss life with each other, and give the kids oppotunities to be open and honest about their lives and struggles. It’s pretty cool, as kids from different ethnic backgrounds and personality types and social groups get to be real with each other and get to see one another for who they are.
Today was the last day before Thanksgiving break, so I asked each kid to share one thing that has happened to them that their thankful for. I asked that it be something that was life-changing. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was a bit taken aback by some of the emotion and power of some of their stories. Some of them:
An 8th grader who didn’t meet her dad until she was 11, and she’s grateful to be building a relationship that wasn’t there.
A girl who was adopted after a life in foster care just two years ago, grateful to finally have a family and real friends.
A boy born premature who doctors didn’t expect to live.
A girl whose family immigrated from Vietnam to find a life beyond what they could dream in their home country.
A sixth grader who Doctors feared would never walk or breathe on her own, but is now healthy.
A boy who’s mom just gave birth to a baby boy a year after sufferning a miscarriage.
A girl who suffured severe burns on her arm and hands as a baby, but thanks to the Shriner Hospital, has regained the use of the arm after many surgery’s and ongoing therapy.
Those are just a few of the stories. From kids still in the midst of much pain and suffering. In the midst of being teenagers. In the midst of lives that haven’t unfolded they way they had hoped. In the midst of poverty. They are finding reasons to give thanks. And that gives me great hope.