There are reflections that can be tough to write. I thank Holly for offering this spiritual space for me to write the tough stuff.
An angel entered my life and left quickly, but I feel his presence still. When I first found out that C. would be joining my class, the directive came with a large stack of paper. The papers told a story of a troubled boy, adopted, who began his life with seizures. The story unfolded with a diagnosis of superior intellect, ADHD, ODD, depression, and Asperger’s. Who was the child who was going to enter my classroom?
On the day I set out to meet him, he was in line with his class returning from lunch. He was being yelled at to stop. He was ignoring the directive. He continued looking forward and following his class. “Which one is he?” I inquired. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a focused stare straight ahead. His mother was subsequently called to come pick him up. He was being defiant.
I met him again in the office with his mother. He talked to me about planets and stars. The day he started coming to me for gifted, I introduced him to Wonderopolis. I showed him how he could write about his learning on the blog. We went to the library and checked out 4 Seymour Simon books. His face lit up. A teacher reported to me that for the first time he looked at her and smiled in the hallway.
I kept up with C.’s daily behavior report. I talked with his other teachers. Things were running smoothly. He even had a few days of rewards.
Then one day I got a phone call from the assistant principal telling me that he was having a melt down in the hallway. I made my way to his hall. When I found him, he was lying on the floor with his booksack over his face. He was completely alone. I pulled the bag away from his face, and he woke up. Yes, he was sleeping.
“How did you fall asleep?”
“I guess I was bored.”
“Why were you bored? Why are you out in the hall all by yourself?”
“I had to sit for recess. I forgot my math homework.”
I walked him to the cafeteria to meet his class for lunch. We talked to his teacher. Yes, he had to sit out of recess, but his response was disrespectful.
I am afraid this was not the last time that he was “disrespectful” to this teacher.
I know that I have the privilege of teaching students in small groups. I know that I am allowed to use interest areas to inspire students. However, I am saddened that the regular class cannot differentiate for children like C. He needed to be treated differently. He needed cool down time. He needed respect. He needed…
Now this light has moved on. His mother thought it best to move him to another school. I miss him. I miss the scent of him, too. He said it was an essential oil called, “Peaceful Child.” I miss his eagerness. He greeted each new day as an adventure. “What are we going to do today?”
“Thank you for being an advocate for my child.” His mothers last words to me. He gave me a bear hug. Tears welled up in my eyes.
In the Baptismal covenant of the Episcopal church, we say “I promise to respect the dignity of every human being.”
I think the word dignity should be divinity. We need to recognize the God in each child. We need to respect the divinity in every human being. Think of what a change that would be. If every person you meet is God, how would you behave differently?