I haven't been reading much lately because, honestly, my plate's pretty full right now with high school band, teaching, worrying about Carol, family, and whatever else is out there. So this post isn't going to be about the latest book I've finished, but instead will highlight that I've received a bit of hope to contrast my "where are we going and why are we all in this handbasket?" mentality.
Yesterday we literally spent all day and half the night with Hannah's high school band. They were involved in two band contests which meant we were at school at 9 a.m. and got home at 2 a.m. the next day. It was hot (90 degrees), sunny, and steamy, and I'd been pretty worried about the band's chances as they're quite young and inexperienced this year. When all was said and done, however, they received all ones at the first contest and then won their division and came in fourth overall at the second. Whew...we were exhausted but delighted.
But what this post is actually about is the state of the world and band kids' position in it. I admit I've been down lately when I survey the state of the middle schoolers I teach (and this is in a good school). They are obnoxious beyond what is expected of middle schoolers; their parents are enablers; they have no motivation and they only care about what makes them feel good for the next 30 seconds. Beyond them, I keep hearing horror stories on the news of sick children who set fire to animals, disenfranchised youth who join gangs and wreak havoc, and kids who hurt other kids simply because they can. It's beyond depressing; it makes me want to run and hide and not let my own girls go out into the world again.
However, high school band gives me hope. These kids willingly give an entire day of their lives (not to mention all the practice time and football games) to go to a contest where they prove that they take life and band seriously. They do what we moms and dads ask because it's expected. They listen to their band directors and do the best they can because they are motivated to do so. And besides all that, they support one another. Of course they support their fellow band members, but they also support bands they are competing against. When they pass other bands, they yell encouragement and they receive it in kind. They clap and cheer for all bands, even those that didn't do that well. In return, the same applies to them. It's not only uplifting, it's hopeful.
One of our boys from last year moved over the summer. He's now in a competing band (one that actually came in second overall). Our kids were so excited to see him. I heard the whispers before the band even came through the gates: "Kevin's here!" When his band marched by to take the field, our entire band (even those who didn't know him) stood and in unison yelled, "Good luck, Kevin!" Talk about being touched...it's making me smile even now to think of it.
Life's not perfect and band's not perfect, but I have to say that I'm no longer riding in that handbasket (at least until tomorrow!). I think it's going to be all right.