Archive for March 3rd, 2012

Walk your Way

Slice of Life Challenge Day 3
Words are your paintbrush, and your life is that canvas.
–Don Miguel Ruiz

I can walk. I can take a walk down my street with my dog anytime I want. I take this ability for granted. I have forgotten what a gift it is to walk.

Until today. I have a new student in my gifted class. She is a precious ten-year-old. At her young age, she already has determination and a clear goal for her future. She wants to work with disabled people, or rather with “differently-abled.” A few weeks ago, she asked if she could make a PowerPoint with her free time. I said sure, and just left her on her own. About 30 minutes later, she showed me her PowerPoint. It was about treating differently-abled people as you would anyone else. They have the same feelings as you and me. How impressive!

Brooklyn could have resented her life. She could so easily complain about having a mother who is disabled, who struggles to walk. Instead, she has an unbelievable gentleness about her. She is caring and helpful. Her only intolerance is for intolerance. Her only enemy is the unkind bully.

Yesterday, Brooklyn and her mother joined me at Walmart. We were shopping for an Easter basket raffle prize, a service project for the school to raise money for Solomon House, an outreach mission and food bank. Trisha was looking for a handicapped spot and told me a story about how she was cursed out in the parking lot once for taking a handicapped spot. From the waist up, she looks normal. However, when she gets out of her car to walk, one can see that her legs don’t work like yours and mine. They work, but differently. I’m sure she endures much staring and misunderstanding.

I am not just thinking about taking things for granted, but I am also pondering this mother and child. How their lives are actually enriched and stronger because they know a deeper truth. They know that what is on the outside has little to do with what is on the inside. They know that love is what endures and what matters, and they spread it everywhere as they stumble along together.

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Read Me a Story

Read Me a Story

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

I miss that special time right before bed when I would curl up with my girls and read a picture book. Today students everywhere celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday with remembrances of all his wonderful contributions to bedtime stories. My oldest daughter Maggie’s favorite was I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, and, believe me, after reading it night after night, we could read it with our eyes shut.

So I was brought back to those days when one of my second grade students walked into class with the book There’s a Nightmare in My Closet. (Another bedtime favorite of the Simon girls.) She read it aloud to the class and laughed at the silly monster hiding in the closet. Then she passed it on to my two first graders to read again and again. They each took an AR test and became tickled with the wrong answer, “The boy said the nightmare stunk and needed a bath.”

Oh, the joys of sharing good writing. Thank you, Mercer Mayer and Dr. Seuss, for making us laugh out loud, again and again.

Link to my students’ SLice of Life #2

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