Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Blind Side

Most my friends have told me they cried during this movie. It won't surprise them when I say I didn't. I'm not a movie crier.

Instead of crying, I sobbed.

I sobbed during that flashback where Michael sees himself being pulled out of his mother's arms and into the hands of the State. I remembered a paper he wrote once for my class, describing how horrific that moment was. How awful it was to sleep in a stranger's house for the next couple of months of his life. How deeply he missed his mother and siblings and their love.

Then I sobbed for another paper Michael wrote in my class. One about an eventful Halloween, a holiday forever haunted by a scene discovered under street light. Michael was on his way home from trick or treating with friends when he heard the sirens from behind and then the sobs of his mother straight ahead. He found her covered in blood, holding his dying brother.

But the real Michael reminded me most of one of the sweetest boy I've ever taught. One who just didn't fit in at Dunbar. He wasn't rough, he wasn't street, and his grammar wasn't tainted with cusses or slang. He rarely spoke about his home life. He researched the life of Miley Cyrus, and no one picked on him for being so "girly and white" with this project, because everyone knew this Michael was the sweetest thing to ever grow up out of their hoods. Then, on my last day at Dunbar, he sadly told me his living situation was less than ideal, because his mother couldn't make the right choices. So adult like, he told me she knew she was messing up his life and she knew the family needed to make big changes. "I'm not living like a 15-year-old boy should be. It's not a healthy place for me. But my future depends on how important that knowledge really is to my mother. My brother can't help me. My father doesn't do nothing. It's up to her."

I'm sure I'll love my own kids as much as those I've taught. But sometimes, I know exactly how Ms Touley felt. It's easy to love SJ and Collins -- they're talented, they're clean, and they're happy because they've been given so much. But it is even more natural to love the Michaels. Kids who should never have been dealt the cards they were given. Kids who strive to make it no matter how the deck is cut. Those are the children who have stolen my heart time and time again.

I'm so grateful for all the lessons Michael Oher taught me.


Polly Blevins said...

Kids are easy to love because they WANT love so much. Take a second and you realize just how much they crave it. Of course you know that you sound like an amazing teacher/mentor. I'm with you though, they are easy to love and you just hope you can touch their lives in a way to give them some hope.

Jaime Cox Bassett said...

Liz- you are AMAZING!!! I am so PROUD of you! I am so GLAD that there are WONDERFUL teacher's, n people like you that can make a difference in the world!!! BTW I'm am so sooo EXCITED for you n you're hubby! YAY! Love u-

Scott and Claudia said...

Great story Betty! We're getting so excited to see you this weekend!! Yeah!!! Love, Pa

Scott and Claudia said...

You sobbed?! Is this because: A. You are pregnant B. You are depressed or C. Because you are such a wonderful teacher to all your Michaels. I vote for C though A might have a little, teeny to do with it. I did enjoy that movie, but did not relate to it on the level you did. Obviously, because of our background differences. Loved your photos. Cute, cute kids! Can't wait to see you.

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