For me, it's hard to know why people do what they do. Some are motivated by fear. Some people are angry. Some people lash out because they feel threatened. Some people want to put others down so they can feel important. Some people want to save the world and they believe they are the only ones who can do it.
But then there are the people who are selfless - who act, it seems, purely for others.
These are the people that I really don't understand!
I was with some of those people for the past four days. Twenty-seven Novi Community School District staff plus the City of Novi Chief of Police served as chaperones for 324 Novi Middle School 8th graders on the annual trip to Washington DC. (I apologize in advance that I don't have pictures of all of the chaperones.)
As I sat on a bus surrounded by 8th-grade students I could look around and see three other adult chaperones. There were six other buses in exactly the same position - almost fifty students, four adult chaperones. Each chaperone was responsible for a group of twelve students.
Twelve 8th grade students. Twelve students who exhibit the highs and lows of being in 8th grade. These students were awkward at times - physically, emotionally, intellectually. These students were compassionate at times - to each other, to the chaperones, to our guide and driver. These students were curious at times - about the city, about each other, about history.
Twelve 8th grade students. Sometimes these students would not be quiet - especially at 3:00 AM when all you wanted to do was catch a few short minutes of sleep on the bus. Sometimes these students would express thankfulness with just the right words or the right action. Sometimes these students would be silly at the wrong moment and follow that up with a pitch-perfect sense of solemnity called for in that moment.
They are 8th graders!
And through it all, there was a group of chaperones who showed patience and concern and care. This group of chaperones held the reins tight when needed and let the students run when that was appropriate. This group of chaperones used moments to teach life lessons but never became "preachy."
These chaperones focus was on making sure that this group of 324 8th grade students had the time of their lives. The chaperones traveled all night with these 8th graders - down to Washington DC and back. This group of chaperones ate every meal for three full days with 8th graders. These chaperones woke up early so that they could be on time to wake up these 8th graders. This group of chaperones spent almost every waking hour for three straight days with 324 8th graders.
Because these chaperones care for these children who are not their own. These chaperones want the best for these students.
Why do people do what they do?
It is a mystery.
What I know is that I am grateful for adults in our school district and community who care for kids.