I am a 30+ year veteran teacher of students with various disabilities. I have respected all of my students and treated each one as if they were my own child.
This past year, a young 17 year old male student named Jay, was assigned to my class. Within a day I realized Jay was placed inappropriately in my class, for he was far superior academically to my students, and honestly, to our school setting. At that point I realized God had placed him in my arena so together he and I could learn from each other. I eventually started to see myself in Jay, although decades apart in age, he was now living my early years, with all of the dysfunction, challenges and residual emotional side effects.
I consistently tried to ever so gently to work my words into the joints of the wall he had already so strongly build around himself, his true self, his soul. Jay is very proficient at helping others yet, immediately blocking any help for himself. I however knew the pain this kind of existence was causing him. I wanted nothing more than to teach him to truly believe in himself, for his God given talents are endless. He has a giving heart, a benevolent spirit, he is an advocate for those without his abilities, a protector of all in his presence...strangers included, a talented artist of many venues and so much more.
However, he is not ready to take the chance of stepping out from behind the curtains of security on the stage to stand in the spotlight and shine. I believe certain insecurities prevent him from taking the final very scary steps of walking away from evil that pulls him, self-doubts that keep him behind the curtains and I want him to know he has what it takes to shine.
I want Jay to know that he has the ability to be an inspirational force for so many WHEN he puts his own insecurities to rest and makes the decision to shine. Hence, on August 12, 2016 I presented Jay with his "SHINE" key to remind him of my support and his abilities.