First let me tell you about the greatest compliment I received ever! (Until now, hopefully I will receive one or two more good ones in my life, and I kind of do, from my sons, once in a while)
Back in college my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had this group of friends from our university and my high school years* [endnote, scroll down!] that was just great! We got together nearly every weekend -- went to church, had Bible studies, hung out at my parents' house, sometimes went to the beach for the weekend borrowing my aunt's house (the beach is a couple of hours drive from the city of São Paulo).
One of our friends had a younger sister, still in high school, but she often tagged along when he came to spend the weekends. This girl loved theater, was very extroverted and prided herself in being a little "crazy." One evening, when we were having a good time doing something (we had grand times with surprise parties and we once scripted and filmed a couple of hilarious home
movies) this friend turned to me and said: "L, you know what? You're actually crazier than me!" And I promptly replied that that was the greatest compliment I'd ever received! I love to be a little "crazy" and my sons sometimes recognize that and echo my friend's compliment.
Two weeks ago I had a student come to me at the end of class to ask me a general question, I don't even remember what it was. This poor guy is struggling a bit with various things (car accident, weird boil that appeared on his face) and I was really moved by what he said, later I almost started crying: "I'm asking you this," he said, "because you're the most approachable professor I have!" Oh dear... I'm so glad to hear that, I thought! And that's what I truly aspire to, being approachable, showing them that I really care deeply about not only their learning, but about them. I want to be even more approachable.
The poor guy didn't even stay for class yesterday... At the very beginning of class he came to me and told me he had just spilled water over ALL his things, including his computer and he had to go dry it. Sigh... I hope didn't lose the laptop!
P.S. I do have a fair share of freshmen and the other day this girl came to me after class and apologized for being late and then she asked something I had to ask her to repeat 'cause initially I didn't get it: "What happens in college when you're late to class?" :-D I think I just shrugged off and said "nothing really" (I should have added that if a student is constantly late sometimes I write that down because I have an attendance policy -- it's part of their grade, since it's a language class). I think she replied something like "oh, so then all we have to do is to show up?" Kind of, kid! As a professor friend of mine says "just showing up is part of succeding in life" (gotta ask him for the correct quote!)
* this was in Brasil, where most people live at home while in college and close to their high school friends. I lived at home [until I got married!], but my future husband didn't because his family had moved to another state and he stayed to continue in the same university.