A third grader asked for my autograph today. I can't think of a better highlight of my day/week.
One aspect of my job is helping with a program called G.R.O.W. which provides science education for some area K-3rd grade students in two school districts with relatively high low-income family populations. The BP works with two other science/cultural organizations to provide a really quality science program for these schools, tied to state standards, of course. Over the course of the program, each classroom writes a non-fiction book. I spent about two weeks going to several of these classrooms to help put their book into a program that will print a real book the kids get to keep. I LOVE this. How many elementary school students get to write a real book that is published in professional-looking book form? They are always very creative and the kids think it is so cool. In my current role, I interact with these kids for literally 30 minutes (it used to be more when I did their classroom programs as well).
At our family night tonight, I led some of the book reading sessions. After each school's session, we let the kids autograph each others' books [they are famous published authors now, you see]. They often ask their teachers to sign their books, but I've never been asked. [Remember, I am just the person behind the computer typing in their text and adding pictures.]
So yes, it was a huge deal when the third grader asked for my autograph. I asked if he was sure, and he said, "Yes, because you helped us."
Don't ever tell me that kids aren't perceptive or that kids from low-income schools aren't conscientious or bright. I wish everyone got to spend time with the elementary school kids at their area schools. It's hard to write them off as "kids these days" when you know just how much they care, notice, and appreciate the adults in their lives.
Sorry to get all preachy. Two years ago I was terrified of entering a classroom and teaching 30-50 elementary school kids at a time. Now, elementary school kids are some of my favorite people.