Last year I replaced a rapidly fading laptop. The old one had been durable, traveling to schools across the country for six or seven years. The new one, a wide screen, touchscreen, convertible, was getting its break-in during the start-up of a new school we were supporting. Getting late into the evening, I was sitting on a donated sofa in the reception area, working on budget notes, when a young man in the all-day kindergarten class crawled onto my lap. He was the reason five of us were still there working late, waiting, not for the first time, for a family member to arrive.
I had tried out a game designed for my widescreen touchscreen the other day, popping bubbles on the touchscreen, and showed it to my newest friend. He played a few rounds before getting antsy, not quite catching on to the idea of strategic bubble popping for added points. Before heading back to the Legos on the floor, he stopped, thanked me and removed a smiley face sticker from the back of his hand and put it on my computer. A year later it is still there, seemingly not much wear and tear at all, reminding me of why we do this, and that perhaps the most important measure of how well we are doing is in their eyes.