On a Friday after school in January, before a three-day weekend, twenty students came together to videotape a movie written by a gifted sixth grader. He was not considered to be an easy person to work with or be with, but he had a vision that students saw and wanted to be a part of his music and movie. The group consisted of fourth through eighth graders. Ironically, within the group, few friendships existed. There were only four girls. (Yes, junior high boys acting!) The group had over fifty percent on caseload, many ADHD students, plus many students who were perceived as “popular.” What I learned on this snowy Friday afternoon, that when given a chance, students teach me character. The entire event only took seventy minutes, but to me, it is embedded in my soul. I can’t help thinking about the individuals and how the respected each other and worked for a common goal. I believe that many of them will look back and realize that later in life. Junior high students teaching character, not concerned about peer pressure or what is “popular.”
It goes back to Randy Pausch’s Lecture of a Lifetime. “Find the best in everybody: no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it.” This transformed everyone. We just finished burning the DVD’s – all one hundred copies. We ran out, and now on a second run. There is even a website. www.chordsville.com
Character is what you do when nobody is looking. I was looking, and it changed how I look at all the individuals.