you’ve heard the old chiche
“the difference one can make”
several years ago a newbie teacher moved in next door to me
she was excited and nervous and had lots of questions..I answered as best I was able
and then one day she popped in and said, “I need you to come over and meet my new student…I may need your help.”
for the sake of privacy I’m going to refer to her new student as “little man” or LM for short.
turned out LM’s mom and I went to elementary school together-
it really is a small world after all
After our initial meeting and through a series of unexpected events with increased enrollment LM ended up on my class roll.
It was a year I will never forget.
God is always at least two steps ahead of us. He sent me a student teacher that year. She was truly a Godsend.
LM as it turned out had never been in a public-social setting.
He had never attended daycare, preschool or Sunday school and had no siblings.
The concept that our class was his “group” meaning we would travel about the school together in a line, sit in the lunchroom & play on the playground together was as foreign to him as French is to me. LM was a repeat offender of invading others “purple circle” (also know as personal space)..He licked himself, others and things. He could often be found up out of his seat, experimenting with the water fountain or looking out the window. Whether on our way to lunch, art, PE, free play or the restroom his hand could be found in mine. I worked at a large school with hundreds of littles- it was just best if he were never more than an arm’s reach away. Our first days together were intense. His sentences were broken. I had a difficult time making sense of his comments as well as his many, many questions. He could quote line by line scenes from Happy Feet although his limited social skills often made me think of Mogli from Jungle Book. Each day he brought 5 juice jammers and 5 fruit roll ups to eat for snack and lunch. His mother said he would eat nothing else. With the help of the gracious lunchroom workers we introduced him to cheese, and crackers and chocolate milk. One sip -one nibble at a time. He had never held a toothbrush. I gave him one and encourage him to brush each day upon arriving to our class. With the help of the counselor we made a few calls and scheduled his first dental appointment. (I failed to mention that going to the dentist makes his teacher want to pass out cold–I thought it best not to scare the little fella)
Each day-or I should say each hour spent with LM my heart felt as though it grew three fold. In spite of the many, many things that challenged him he never ceased to smile. He smiled all the time and he hugged me 1000 times a day. Sometimes it seemed as though a minute wouldn’t have passed before he was there to offer another. The teachers that shared playtime with us squalled with me many days..His love for others would fill us so full that tears would flow like that of water over a dam. His innocence was refreshing and humbling.
Per parent request he was tested for special needs. He was observed by many but one stands out still today. The test administrator was from out of town. She was an elderly woman of which I am certain had seen many-many one-of-a-kinds…I can still hear her
– “He is an empty canvas waiting to be painted. Share with him, read to him, love him, teach him and…learn from him.
He is amazing.”
Amen. and amen and amen.
I had not and have not met a child like him still. He was “fearfully and wonderfully made”…I pray he is well and hope one day the Lord will allow us to cross paths again so that I can tell him how amazing he is and thank him for all that he taught his first grade teacher.