At the school where I work as a paraprofessional, I was recently transferred from the third grade classroom I’d grown to love into an unfamiliar second grade classroom. While sad to leave my favorite third graders, I’m looking forward to getting to know a new group of students. On my last day in the third grade classroom, one of the students thrust a composition notebook into my hands.
“Do you want to read my thoughts on growing up?” he asked.
“Of course!” I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to read what this young man had written in his classroom journal.
He had divided it into five chapters, with room to add more. Each was a section devoted to advice about a specific aspect of growing up, such as paying bills, jobs (spelled gobs — adorable), love, and having kids of your own. I have to paraphrase his words, but the introduction went something like this:
…You might think that there is nothing better than growing up and being an adult. You might tell yourself that having a car, a house, piles of money, a ‘gob’ and a family of your own is the best thing in the world. But it’s not, because then you have all kinds of responsibility. You have to pay for things like food and electricity and you have to go to work every day. And then you don’t get to have as much fun as when you were a kid…
I read each chapter full of astute observations about the realities of being full grown. His thoughts on adulthood had me smiling and nodding. But the last chapter had me practically rolling on the floor. It was titled ‘Love’. He wrote something like this:
…When I am an adult I want to get married and have kids. But have you ever thought about actually being married? I mean, you have to get into bed with the same person every night for the rest of your life! There are going to be times when you don’t want to do that, but you still have to. And you don’t want to know about what happens to have a baby…
After wiping the laughter tears off my cheeks I handed the book back to the student and told him that I loved the book and that he is wise well beyond his years. I am going to miss my third graders.