Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Finally Caught Up For 2009!!!!

Yesterday I started driving my new routes with The Peacebus. Since Joanne and I recently moved to the west side of London I had asked my supervisor to give me routes that were closer to where I live. This saves me a lot of driving time and saves the company a bit of money as I’m using less fuel to get around. The Earth smiles as I’m polluting less, as well!

I imagine that in a week or so I’ll be sharing stories and artwork about the new students that are riding my bus. For today, I thought that it would be a good idea to share the last few artworks that were presented to me, by the students who rode my bus in 2009.

Since the beginning of the year I have witnessed many changes in the students that rode my bus… changes for the good! When the school year began, Jessica (in senior kindergarten) was a very quiet and shy little girl. Every day I would welcome her onto the bus with a smile as she walked past me with eyes lowered to sit in her seat where she sat in silence for the rest of the bus ride. This went on for almost two months when suddenly Jessica changed.

I first noticed this change when she was getting on the bus, after school one day. On this day, she was smiling and as she got closer to the bus she looked at me through the window and waved a greeting. When she got on the bus I said (as I had been all year), “Ahhh, bonjour Jessica! Comment c’est va?” I was really surprised when – for the first time – she replied, “Tres bien!” Then she handed me some artwork to decorate the windows of The Peacebus.

From that day, until the end of the year a new Jessica rode my bus. It was wonderful watching her shyness disappear as a livelier little girl began to emerge.

Near the end of the school year, Jessica handed in another drawing for me. It put a huge smile on my face. It was a picture of The Peacebus and she drew it driving through the subdivision where she lives!!!!

As I’m sure you can imagine, the children didn’t always behave like angels! Sometimes Mr. Jim had to separate students who were bickering and occasionally a student was sent to the front of bus for misbehaving. The day after I had to move Jason to the front of the bus, he got on and handed me this drawing, “I wasn’t very peace-like, yesterday, Mr. Jim… I’m sorry!” This apology was very thoughtful for a young boy in grade 1 and I was glad that I could reduce his ‘front of the bus’ sentence!!!

I’ve shared quite a bit of artwork created by Patricia, also in grade 1. In fact, at one point she had handed in so much artwork that I wrote one blog just about her! After a while Patricia started finding more and more ways to be creative. Instead of simply handing in a peace of her artwork, she started to put her artwork into envelopes that she also decorated with peaceful images.

When I opened the envelopes all sorts of artwork would spill out! Sometimes she would draw full-page images to decorate the ceiling of the bus and other times she would fill the envelope with window decorations for the bus.

The students who rode my bus must have shared a lot of stories (and my peace Stik-ers!) with their friends. Whenever I happened to be in the school, before bus loading time, students who I didn’t know would walk up to me and say, “Peace! Mr. Jim!” This always made me laugh. Several students who didn’t ride my bus would still hand in artwork. They would give it to a student who did ride my bus and they would hand it in to me. I received about five window decorations and this little peace pillow.

I thought that all of these peaceful interactions were great! Without even trying I was inspiring other students to think of peace!!!

The thing that surprised me most was how I had inadvertently affected the fashions of the children who rode my bus.

At the beginning of the year, I had announced that Fridays were to be ‘Peace T-shirt’ days. I explained that any T-shirts that had pictures of flowers, birds or other animals would be considered ‘Peace T-shirts’ cuz they showed the students love of Nature. Blue T-shirts were accepted as they represented the sky and the oceans. Green T-shirts were also accepted as they represented trees, grass and Earthly things. Also, T-shirts that said things like “I Love Canada” were accepted as they show how the student loves their homeland.

Nearing the end of September, I had created my own Peace T-shirts to give away to the students, as prizes, for their participation in an art contest I had created. I handed out six T-shirts and every Friday the students wore them to school. The principal of the school even shared some positive comments with me about these T-shirts.

One day, a young girl told me that she had gone shopping with her mom. Then she opened her jacket, slightly, to pull out the peace necklace that she had bought. I thought that it was great!

A few days later, an older student was excited to show me the peace bracelet the she had just bought.

Over the next while the students shared with me many stories about all the peace symbols that they had seen. Some had seen a car with the words ‘peace’ and ‘hope’ graffitied on it, some told me about peace posters they had seen, or peace images that they had found on the internet.

It made me feel very happy to know that I had turned on these children’s imaginations to draw peaceful images and I was overwhelmed to realize that I had opened their eyes to witness the peace that surrounds us everyday!!!!

I thought that it was delightful that I had inadvertently influenced the fashion that these students wore. These are their T-shirts…

Well… I’ve finally done it – got caught up with all the artwork and stories that I’ve wanted to share with you. Now, that I have a busload of new students, I’m sure that new stories and artworks will be written about very soon!

I really, really, super really enjoyed all the adventures that I shared with my former students and I’m looking forward to a great 2010 filled with all the wondrous delights that life has to offer!!!


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