A Tribute to Jag
I would never have guessed 13 years ago that getting a pet kitten from the S.P.C.A. would bring so much joy into our family and into my classroom. I suppose most of it has to do with the fact that the cat that we chose was truly “one of a kind”. After all, how many cats are there that do tricks for treats, enjoy getting vacuumed, like water, carry stuffed animals around when feeling lonely, and are afraid of birds? Jag was an anomaly.
For the past 13 years I have used “Jag stories” to connect with my students. I found that sharing these humorous anecdotes built a strong rapport and connection. The conversation would usually lead to the students telling me about their pets or other animals that they had in their lives or just laughing together over the stories of Jag.
Two weeks, we had to say goodbye to our beloved Jag. His little body just couldn’t fight his battle with diabetes any longer. It has been a sad time for us as a family and for my students.
During our class meeting on a Thursday morning as I was telling the students about saying goodbye to our furry friend, I began to feel the tears well up in my eyes. I asked the students how many of them have lost pets. Many hands went up. I continued, “So, you know exactly how I am feeling today…and that is okay.
It is okay to go through hard things together.”
The response that came from the young boy in the front of the group finished our class meeting perfectly. He exclaimed, “Yes, Mrs. Draper, cause that’s what community is!”
Yes – cause that’s what community is. How very true. Community is about sharing all of life. The happy times and the sad times. The easy times and the hard times. The celebrations and the challenges. The vulnerability of sharing these experiences bring us closer together. It develops an atmosphere of trust, authenticity, empathy and compassion.
Today I am grateful for the joy that Jaguar has brought into my family’s life and for the way that sharing stories of him with my students has created a close community.