That’s my blue ninja. It was gift from one of the kids at church recently. Each Sunday, I teach a group of 5th grade students at church. Before and after this time, I help supervise transitions and “hang out” with the kids in our children’s ministry. I’ve only been doing this since August, but apparently I’ve made an impression. Last week, a 1st grader hugged me (as he does each week) and gave me this blue ninja. I admired it and handed it back to him, but he said he wanted me to keep it. This simple act gave me pause, and I’ve been thinking about this ninja for a week.
What I know is that teaching is hard. There are days when I want to give up–days when I wonder if anything I do is making a difference–days when I wonder if my classes will ever flow like I want them to. During those times, it is easy to let these feelings overwhelm me and pull me into a cycle of negativity. Negative thoughts produce more negative thoughts. During these negative cycles, it’s hard to remember all of the positives that have occurred. That’s where the blue ninja comes it. It’s a visible reminder that I am making a difference–that what I do is important to someone.
You may not have a blue ninja to remind you of your impact, but maybe you have cards or drawings from students. Maybe you have a photo of a class trip or exciting moment. Maybe you have a post on social media where a student shared your praise. As teachers, we need to save these so that we can go back to them on those rough days. They can be the ninjas we need to stop those negative cycles and help us see a more balanced view of reality. We’re not perfect, and we’ve got a long way to go, but we are making a difference–we do matter. The next time you find a “blue ninja,” put it in a folder that you can turn to on a day when you need some ninja skills to send the blues away.