This week (November 13-19) is American Education Week. At the school where I work, as in many schools across the country, parents are being invited to visit their children’s classrooms and to observe their children engaging in learning. It is a time for a little excitement and a little anxiety; teachers, parents, and even students want to make a good impression and to perform well.
Today in our classroom, we had one parent come to visit. As we have a small class and most of the parents are working and unable to come, it was understandable that we had only one mom. Her son, a bright, happy child who is autistic, was excited from the time he arrived to school, knowing that she would be coming. Animated, he mentioned it to us several times. And when Mommy did arrive, our student’s eyes lit up and there was an instantaneous happiness that came over his face. To me, his happiness was an expression of his recognizing “that’s my mom” and a sense that, for today, home and school are connected, and all is right in the world. It was, for him, about the familiar.
With the Thanksgiving holiday coming next week, it is a meaningful time to think about family; the familiar and familial faces around the table. For most of us, this group of people is our home, our team, the ones who will always welcome us and take us in, no matter what. Our family nurtures and cares for us, and reminds us from where we come. When I watched my student today with his mom, what I saw was the bond, connection, and love so strong between a child and parent. She didn’t have to say anything as she entered the room. It was enough for him to see her face, knowing she came to be with him at his school. That’s a good feeling. There’s no place like home, and there really is nothing quite like family.