Wednesday was Veterans Day. I held my own personal celebration by calling my 95-year-old father, Jim Kenner. He’s a veteran and continues to be involved in his local American Legion post. In fact, he was the recipient of a 75-year continuous service pin in March, right before the pandemic hit. We were able to be there for the ceremony, and it was the last time I saw him in person. As yesterday wore on, I recognized that he’s a warrior, one of the remaining few in his remarkable generation. He has inspired numerous qualities that I carry with me today, qualities that make up my inner warrior.
When I think of a warrior, I think of someone who is courageous, humble, and tenacious. Other words that come to mind are service, selflessness, and bravery. As the pandemic months have unfolded, I notice that I’m surrounded by warriors of all ages and sizes. There are the teachers, who have gone above and beyond what they ever thought they might be asked to do, who keep digging deeper to hold it all together. There are the children who arrive every day with the fierceness of warriors. Our group of kindergarten warriors have persistently worn their masks since the first day of school in August. It’s hard enough for me as an adult to wear a mask all day. These five-year-olds have shown incredible consistency and maturity in wearing theirs. They are warriors through and through.
This realization has come through in a pronounced way with the 3rd-5th grade writers. For many months we’ve worked together to develop characters, then write stories about them. During each session, children write independently, followed by time giving feedback to the children who have shared. Over time I’ve noticed such sophistication in their responses. They have learned to listen for details, apply concepts we’ve covered, and translate it to to helpful advice for their peers. One boy said, “I love it. It’s just the right amount of detail—not too much, not too little.” It’s the kind of encouragement that keeps writers writing.
I want to say a bit about our virtual students who are also warriors in their own right. Most of them have been virtual students since March, away from their friends and everyday social lives. It’s not easy. I appreciate how they’ve continued to show up and put forth their best efforts. The other day one of these students asked to share a poem she’d written spontaneously. It took my breath away:
Looking Glass by Solana Taribach
Stare into my looking glass
See the future, see the past
See the sky that’s always blue
And maybe meet somebody new
See the stars shining bright
Look back at a world that isn’t right
She nailed it; there’s a lot in this world that isn’t right. However, each day of our continuing work here at the Seed brings forth brightness and hope for a better tomorrow. The honor of cultivating this generation of young warriors gives us a reason to keep showing up each day. After all, being a part of the movement toward making the world right again is why the Seed exists.