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Earlier today, I wrapped up my second year of Vacation Bible School. Last year was a very good experience, but also quite challenging, because not only had I not taught kids since the early '90s and was out of practice, but I also was dealing with an autistic child, something I had never done before.

This year was really great. I was no longer a novice. I had taught 12 out of the 13 students throughout the school year, so I knew them pretty well. I had seven year olds, who can read and (surprisingly) are willing to act out parts from the stories (most of them, anyway). They can go to the bathroom by themselves. And best of all, I never lost anyone or even worried about it as I did last year. :-)

This is not to say that there weren't some challenging moments. A few kids would color or play their DS while we were going over the lesson. Some were unkind to others at times. A couple of them complained about various things. But honestly, those minor things hardly bothered me. I was just happy to do what I was doing.

What did taint a really nice week, however, was that only one parent said, "thank you" to me today. Admittedly, I am a little sensitive. And certainly I don't always think of saying thank you to people in situations like these. But most of these women got to have a few hours to themselves while I volunteered my time (and some of my money since I bought a few things without bothering to turn in any expenses), so you'd think they would be a little appreciative. At the very least, I was hoping a few of them would have wished me a nice summer. The majority of the moms did not even bother to say good bye. I don't think I am being overly sensitive when I expect that.

This just reinforced to me how important it is to show your appreciation towards others. Soon after VBS was done last year, I sent thank-you notes to Father and the director of the VBS. I got a lot out of the experience, and I wanted to thank them for that and just for their hard work. A few days later, Father actually called me to thank me for my thank-you note. It meant so much to him that I took the time to say thanks, and I will never forget that. You can bet I will be writing thank-you notes again this year.

It was so good to feel needed and purposeful this week. I like to think that every kid got at least a little something from their week. Even one kid who had been a struggle the few times I had subbed his class this year actually raised his hand to answer questions. When he left today, he asked if I was going to be his teacher next year. I told him that another woman usually teaches the older kids, so probably not. And as he walked out the door, he casually asked me to at least stop in and say hi next year. Moments like that mean so much to me. Even more than a thanks.

But if you are ever contemplating whether or not to say thanks (or go one step further and send a thank-you note), I am here to tell you to just do it. I can't imagine you will regret it. And if you go back and read some of my posts from July 2008, that sentiment will be further reinforced.

Thanks for reading!


Sherri said…
Thanks for your post ;-). Nice reminder for people. So nice that you do volunteer your time.
T said…
I don't think most people would think to say thanks in that situation so try not to take it personally. However, I find it sad that all those moms could not say anything to you.

I agree with Sherri, it is a nice reminder to say thanks. I will keep that in mind!
c said…
You are so right. A sincere "thank you" and a smile is something that costs nothing but means everything. Did the moms not realize you were a volunteer? Pretty shabby.
Facie said…
Thanks for the comments. I do think I am more mad that most moms could not acknowledge me or at least have their kids say good bye; I made sure Jordan and I said good bye to the two women leading the VBS she went to the previous week. I am not sure I specifically said thanks, so realizing that, how can I get too worked up about it.

And, yes, they definitely knew I was their kids' teacher since I saw most of them every morning or afternoon for pick up/drop off. The last day, the kids sang for the parents and then everyone ate. During the eating or when the kids came to pick up all their things back in the room would have been a good time to just say bye.

I need to get over it, I realize. And I mostly have.

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