This week I’ve begun a marvelous 2nd week of working with 3rd graders at Douglas Elementary. I often think of third grade as the last year of innocence. One student immediately proved this with his sweetness and sincerity.
He entered the contest to win a book for his class and took the challenge and rules I announced completely seriously—and literally. He definitely found out what the word “motivation” meant (rule #1), then wrote his name down on a slip of paper and put this paper in the contest entry box (rules #2 & #3) and “got lucky” (rule #4) when I pulled his name first.
On one side of his entry, he’d written the word’s definition. What he’d written on the other side confused me:
“I need to get lucky,” I read aloud. “You certainly got lucky, but what are all those names?” I asked.
“You said to make sure everyone knew what the word meant,” he explained.
Indeed that was Rule #5, but I hadn’t asked him to define it yet. I was even more confused.
“He told all of us what the word meant so that we understood it,” piped up a fellow student, ” and then he asked us to sign his paper.”
Indeed, this student took my directive so seriously (and literally) that he spent time explaining what motivation meant to “almost everyone in my class.”
It wasn’t just the rules he took literally, he probably didn’t know it but he not only knew what motivation meant, he proved it by living it!