Sorry, this is a bit of a rant. I've mentioned before that I began meeting my boys at school every morning the day after their mother said she wanted out of our marriage and wanted me out of the house. I did that for 3 years until I began my student teaching. I did the same thing when the two oldest ones were in Little League and Cub Scouts. I remember going to a Veteran's Day Assembly and seeing my middle son look around to see if either of us were there. She wasn't, but I made time in my work schedule to be there and the way his face lit up when he saw me made it all worthwhile. Well, tonight was just one more example. My oldest son is a freshman in high school and plays in the band. Tonight was their first football game and his first time ever marching on the field in front of a crowd. I also thought he was going to do the trombone solo during half-time, but that went to someone else. This is their week to be with their mother and it was a home game, which means it was about 10 minutes from her house. She dropped him off at the school, then went back home instead of staying for the game or the half-time show. Their school is 25 miles from my home and in another state, but I was there an hour before the game started. Like I said, this was NOT my week to have the boys and I had not mentioned anything about going to the game, but when I called my son on his cell phone to find out where he was, I could tell by his comments and voice that he knew I would be there all along. I had NO real interest in the teams or the game (although it was entertaining enough to watch), but there was NO WAY I was going to miss his first time performing at a game. I told my ex more than a year before we split up that, if she didn't start doing things with the boys while they were young, they would have nothing to do with her when they got older. More than 5 years later, she still hasn't figured it out. While this is a personal rant, it can also be applied to the kids in our classes - especially the ones that challenge us the most. Many of these kids have parents that don't care about what they do in school or anywhere else and the kids are STARVED for attention and compassion. Or they might have the "Hot Sauce Mom" who does pay attention to what they do in school, but only to yell and scream at them for not doing as good as (s)he thinks they should (I still cringe every time I see that video and the way she is DESTROYING that boys' self-esteem ). No matter how difficult their behavior may be to handle, we need to remind ourselves (myself included) that we might be the ONE person in that child's life that shows them ANY positive attention and encouragement. A single compliment, a bit of encouragement, a "high five" or an "atta boy" each day might be the one thing that makes that child think "Maybe my life DOES matter and maybe I CAN do something good with myself after all." So just remember how important it is to be there for the kids, because you might be the only that bothers to make that effort.