I believe in children.
Ever since I was old enough to be considered a child, my parents told me that I could do whatever I wanted in life. As a 4 year old, however, I thought that meant I could eat gummy bears and drink orange soda for every meal. I was disappointed to find that my parents meant that I could be anything, go anywhere, and do whatever I wanted to do.
In 3rd grade, my parents requested that I be tested for gifted. It turns out that I am gifted, and they put me in the gifted class. Both my mother and my father insisted that I be challenged to grow academically, and I was. After elementary school, I was put in the gifted program in my middle school. Now, I am in my junior year of high school, and my new challenge is success in the International Bacheloriate program. As a college-bound junior, I appreciate more than ever my parents’ determination.
I grew up in a home that never said no to any possibilities, any interests, any hopes for the future. I never heard “you can’t do that”, unless it was something like climbing out of my second story window, or driving the car at age 10.
Over the summer, I was a counselor at a Baha’i camp for 4 weeks. Every week there was a new group of about 50 kids. I lived with these kids, played and ate with them, helped them get to bed. But more than that, I witnessed things I would have never expected from kids so young. I saw new-found bravery as a shy 8 year-old walked up to a group of 5 older kids and ask to sit with them. I saw the sweetest compassion as a 10 year-old helped her roommate make her bed. I watched them learn. I watched them develop a depth of awareness of themselves and others, I observed them grow spiritually. I watched them study what many would consider difficult; religious texts filled with words found in SAT prep books. They strained to understand the concepts that are so far beyond their perceived ability. They were constantly proving that they can do what we ask of them, they can succeed more than we were ever expected to. Never before had I seen such… determination and willingness to learn. I learned with them, I realize, I learned that children should never be underestimated. They’ll rise to your expectations and even surpass them, if you only give them the chance.
In light of this realization, I’ve decided to become a teacher. I want to give my future students every tool they need to succeed, every chance to prove those who doubt them wrong. I want to push them, as my parents push me. I want them to be assured that I see their ability to do what I ask of them. I want my future students to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.
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