One of my favorite Christmas films is Miracle on 34th Street. (In fact, it is one of my favorite films, period). In the movie, there is a scene where a mother brings her recently adopted daughter to see Kris Kringle, who is working as a department store Santa. She tells Kris that the girl speaks only Dutch and that she insists that he is the real Santa. Then she tells him she has tried to explain to the girl that he is just a man in a Santa suit. While the new mother is still speaking, Kris takes the little girl in his lap and begins to talk with her in perfect Dutch. They share laughs and a song as the mother stands there amazed.
This scene always brings a tear to my eyes. In fact, I get emotional just thinking about it. At the same time, it illustrates a truth that educators need to firmly grasp. Namely, we don't always know the hidden strengths and talents of those around us. They may only come out when the right opportunity presents itself. With school just beginning, we have the chance to help kids (and adults) reveal those hidden talents. We need to give people a chance to show us what they can do. So, this year, when a student or teacher says "I can do that," let them try. See what they are capable of. You might be both amazed and moved by what you learn.