This revelation from my first year still holds very true. I recently read a fortune cookie that said, ‘Just be yourself; you are wonderful.’ This message is one I wish all my sprouts would take to heart. I still see Kevin in the hallways from time to time – he still smiles and calls my name. As lucky as these kids are, I’m pretty lucky myself.

When I was little, my mom used to tell me, “You’re lucky that you’re cute.” I never understood what she meant. These days, I don’t have any children of my own to say the same thing to, but I think I’m finally beginning to comprehend what she meant.

There are a number of kids in my class who know very little. I’m talking about the basics, stuff we educators hope they would know coming into kindergarten. But they don’t: no letters, no numbers. Some don’t even know the difference between a number and a letter.

Some of these kids, as I’ve mentioned before, have never held a pencil. They can’t read, write or recognize their names. And the list goes on and on. You could fill a very large hat with all they don’t know.

But does that make them less than their more advanced peers? Of course not. The low kids, as we call them, have their own talents and skills. They’ll come up to you, smile and ask if you need a hug—just when you really do. Or they’ll come into the classroom giggling about something silly they saw on the bus ride—and just couldn’t wait to get there to tell you about it. Or, they’ll thank you for doing your job. Or ask the kid nobody is playing with to join in. Or laugh at your very stupid joke.

Even the ornery ones are like this. Take Kevin, for example. He can’t keep his hands to himself to save his life. Seriously, if I told him his sweet life depended on keeping his little five-year-old hands to himself, he’d be dead by tomorrow afternoon. But then, in line, while I’m trying to quiet the class before heading into the hallway, he’ll just lean over and lay his head on me. And every irritating thing he’s ever done, every lesson he’s been unable to learn, goes right out the window.

What can I say? They’re all lucky that they’re cute.