The Crossing Guard Chronicles: Today, I Brought Balloons

balloon 1

I brought balloons, three of them tied into a bouquet and weighted. It was the first day of the new school year.

I’m a school crossing guard, one of a dozen in my town. We’re the first and last ‘person of authority’ most kids see when they begin or end their school day. Awesome responsibility.

This morning, I brought balloons to my post, then waited. And it worked, there were smiles and audible whispers of ‘oohs & awwws’. The first day of school was off to a pretty good start, a happy start.

All the students managed to cross safely across a busy road going to their middle and high school buildings. That’s the number one priority. But our job begins and ends before and after the crossing, itself, and that helps make their school day a positive experience. Often, it’s just a smile, a greeting, maybe a ‘great day’ wish, or a compliment, something positive they can take with them every school day.

Do you remember your first days? First day of school, first day of a new job, first day in the military? A bit unnerving, wasn’t it? Meeting new people, having new bosses, understanding new rules; phew, I feel pressure just recalling it all. Imagine how a kid feels.

My first teacher was Miss Fanny, we giggled at her name, until she slapped ‘ours’. Mrs.Downes was my first of many bosses. The principal at an elementary school where I taught before making a career change, Mrs. Downes (Isabel) was a civilian drill instructor, tough but fair, with high expectations from her staff. Drill Sergeant Davis was my first real drill sergeant (Army). He was tough, too, and fair, he showed no favoritism when delivering his wrath.

Initially, all three of these supervisors gave me pause on my ‘first day’ but I adjusted. The kids we cross daily will adjust in time, too, some sooner than others. I like to think that our approach and interaction with them will expedite that adjustment period.

So, today I brought balloons, and waited…       balloon 2


September 6, 2017

To school crossing guards, everywhere

To students of all ages

To everyone experiencing a ‘first time’

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

24 thoughts on “The Crossing Guard Chronicles: Today, I Brought Balloons”

  1. Steve! This is a wonderful idea. Those children will remember the balloons and your greeting for a long time. It’s the kind of thing that will even trigger a memory in their mind into adulthood, when they drive by a school crossing guard. Thank you for making a difference with children. Makes my day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jennie. I bought the balloons at Wegmans (the Wegmans ‘mothership’ is 5 minutes from me) and they do a great job if helped no select and making arrangements. Even some teachers who cross at my spot were thrilled to see them. I have an idea for next year, already.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie, today’s question for the students i crossed was the following, who was Francis Scott Keys and what did he write on this day in 1814? If you could answer right away referring to it as the national anthem but surprisingly, some high school kids were hesitant. But I accomplish my goal, everyone smile to start the day off with the right foot. Now I have to think of something for tomorrow. Any suggestions?School crossing is a fun job and I think the kids are enjoying my banter with him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is a great idea, Steve. It’s fun to keep the same theme running for a few days. Makes the learning stick. So tomorrow, “What is a Star-Spangled Banner?” or “How many stars are on the flag and what do they mean?” Let me know what you did and how it went.


      3. If you want to stick to Francis Scott Key, and that’s really cool, “Where was he when he wrote the song?” (On a ship in the harbor watching the battle) and “Why did he look for the rockets red glare?” (So he could see which flag was flying, therefore knowing who was winning the battle). But you know all of this- apologies. I could give you so many questions on this. Keep me posted. Great idea!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Jennie, I’ve got you all excited, I can tell 😄. I cross 6th grade they 12th. I have to be careful that I don’t come across like a geek to the older kids but you have some great ideas. I’ll let you know what happens. Glad you like what I’m doing. Not bad for a former screw salesman😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it does. And some of the kids need it to start their day. It’s a great school district where I live and work and the kids reflect it. A wonderful group. It’s the drivers who scare me sometime. Thanks for your very nice comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this SO much! I wish all of our crossing guards were so compassionate and insightful. Thanks for helping our most vulnerable and for posting this! I’m catching up today, and this was a great way to get back in the world ‘o blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

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