Monday, December 12, 2011

Hope and Joy

As my students left the final exam today, I had the rare experience of hugging or shaking hands with each of them.  This has been a rare class.  I've had two this semester, but today was the end of the best of the two.

Here's how today went:

First, when I arrived an hour before the exam, I found several students sitting in the commons area of the building.  I told them the room was open and they could come and study there if they liked.  They did.  They came, but other than the occasional question, shouted out and answered in chorus, they mostly talked among themselves.  On a State University campus, most people make friends in their frats, sororities, and dorms.  These people bonded in my speech class.

Second,  as the class was filling, more students than seats, somehow the conversation came around to buffaloes.  I mentioned Larry the Cucumber's Water Buffalo song, YouTube was engaged, and many sang along.  With ten or more minutes to go before the final, the atmosphere became more like a party than a study session.  We listened to "I Love my Lips" followed by Barbara Manatee.  Imagine a 24 year old atheist hippie who was raised on the road hearing Veggie Tales for the first time!

Then it was time for the test.  As each left, I shook hands or hugged them,then thanked them for their work.  They thanked me too, but that was less important to me.

I have grown to love each of them, as a light for the future.  Some of them advocated for a return to courtship rather than dating  (because women like Balls, as in ballroom dancing.).  Some of them advocated for sexual abstinence.  Some advocated for support of the Occupy movement.  Some for Romney.  Some for Cain.  Some for Tea Parties. Some for phantom time. Some for Darth Vader for president because he's a family man.  Two advocated for using a shake-weight, and actually drew abs on one's belly!

 Every young person I meet seems to understand that he or she has more to do in college than drink and play.

That gives me hope. They give me joy.

And so one last video for my students.  They don't know my pen name.  They may never see this.  Consider it a prayer of gratitude:

Thank You Very Much!

I begin to hope for our future because these young men and women give me joy.  I hope my readers can do the same.

Merry Christmas and a very happy and hopeful New Year!
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