Morning Pick-Me-Ups: Students Need Them Too

Let me start with a confession: 40 percent of the time I am fussing at my daughter on the way to school.

It may not be all bad fussing! You know, things like, “Did you get your homework?” “Where’s your bow tie?” “Why did you wear that shirt?” “When you get home don’t forget to…” Blah, blah, blah!

I really try not to. The other 60 percent of the time we’re cruising down Gratiot, bumping Doug E Fresh or Mali Music.

Well this morning was different. Our family had dealt with a personal tragedy that was weighing on my daughter’s mind. The ride to school was filled with assurance that things would get better.

We pulled into the turn-around and something happened. My daughter smiled. She let out a sigh of relief as she exited the car. There was Mr. Opferman to greet her.

Anxious, she walked over to him. He gave her a big smile and a DAP. For those who don’t know what a DAP is, here’s an illustration.

I felt her relief. I had confirmation that her day would get better. As the kids arrived, Mr. Opferman gave each person a DAP. One by one, it was as if he set the tone for their days to be bright.

With tears in my heart, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tell him thank you: “You really don’t know what that meant to my daughter this morning.” He nodded and gave me a great big smile.

“It’s my pleasure,” he said. “She’s a cool kid. They all are.”

It reminded me of the importance of building morale in our students. They are coming from all types of settings and when they enter their schools they need to know someone has their back.

They don’t need to just be corralled into a building with yells down the hall of, “Get to class,” “Tuck those shirts in,” or “You’re going to be late.”

Schools all over the country have teachers greeting students in the morning with smiles and well wishes. Someone sees them as significant and cares about their day.

The simple gesture of a DAP and a smile makes the mornings brighter. Thank you to Mr. Opferman and to all those who stand at doors smiling and greeting and waving at students and parents.

There are others who do this daily at my daughter’s school but this day, it was so needed. Thank you for being the door keepers and for enjoying it.

Oh—and by the way, I am working on my fussing as well.


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