ALL ABOUT LIFE BEYOND KINDERGARTEN! Kindergarten is the basic building block for all future learning. It is true that everything you need to know in life was really learned in Kindergarten. The trick is to remember what you learned when you were five or six. What you liked then will most likely be something you will like now. So be true to yourself and who you really are and who you will really be. Look back and you just may find your true self! Yes…this blog is about a variety of topics…because we are all a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas.
As I have written before, we lost our son in a very sad car accident in October, 2004. To say that it was totally heartbreaking is an underestimate. I knew that we needed to get back to our regular routine as soon as possible. So…we found our strength and found our way back to our familiar life. We focused on our careers, our friends and our daughter who was then a college student.
Crowfoot, a chief of the Siksika First Nation.
I loved teaching school and found incredible joy in getting to know the children and their families. I knew that I would feel much better when I saw those smiling children. And I did! My elementary school at the time was like a “windows on the world”…so many cultures and so many languages. There were many Vietnamese families in the area surrounding the school…wonderful families with a clear focus on giving their children the chance for a bright future through education. The year that we lost our son was my first year to teach third grade… after teaching Kindergarten for several years.
Fireflies streaking through a gorge near the foothills.
Little did I realize how a child in my Third Grade class would give me the hope that comes from understanding the meaning of loss. One of my students had moved from Vietnam just three short weeks before school started. She only knew a few words of English… “hello, goodbye, friend, thank you”. Eager to learn and always kind, she smiled continuously and listened to every word that was uttered in class. She was paired with two older students for thirty minutes or so a day for English tutoring. I learned that peer assistance in any language development is the real key.
Walking among the fireflies.
By Christmas, the young child was virtually fluent in English…a miracle to me and a testament to her work ethic. On the state test in the Spring, her score on the reading part was one of the highest of all the students. During that time, she started reading many types of poetry and enjoyed looking up special topics in the library.
A garden of fireflies.
One sunny Spring day, she quietly placed a paper on my desk during morning announcements. It was a poem that she evidently found in the library. She had added an illustration with her handwriting. As she walked away from my desk, she said…
“Mrs. Davis, I know that you must be still sad about your son. I think that these words will help you!”
To the very smart and very perceptive little girl from Vietnam…now a grown up young woman…”The words you found are still giving me happiness and peace today. Thank you!”
The paper that my young student from Vietnam gave me that sunny Spring day…
Thanksgiving was just as joyful this year as last year and all of the preceding years. We so appreciate this opportunity to celebrate with our friends and family. The legacy of our large Thanksgiving is a true treasure and we are ever thankful each year.
After we had our early afternoon Thanksgiving dinner, everyone relocated to their favorite activities…riding one of the four wheelers on trails, children playing in the hay barn, others watching football games, others busy walking on trails lined with tall pine trees, some taking the children to watch cows being milked at a dairy farm located just down the road.
And…as usual…some of us sat in the dining room just talking. Something insignificant happened as one of the children…an “almost” three year old boy…walked in from the nearby kitchen. We thought that he was coming in to ask for a slice of pie or a piece of cake. Instead, he pulled on the arm of a family friend who was sitting at the corner of the table and began asking questions repeatedly…
“Where are my sisters? Where did they go? Are they at the barn? Do you know?”
And then we saw the tears as the little “almost” three year old boy said…
“I NEED THEM! I NEED THEM NOW!”
An insignificant series of questions from a much loved child suddenly became incredibly significant to me. I have thought about his words so much during the two weeks since Thanksgiving.
The need for someone we love, for a friend, for family, for community, for security, for the joy of close kinship and companionship is hopefully at the very core of our lives…the very center of our existence. At least, that is how I feel.
I am wondering how some children are able to discern that they need someone, that they need companionship and that they need love. I am wondering how some children have the innate confidence to ask for what they need…even in the presence of a group of overly talkative grownups. Our “almost” three year old has a loving and faithful family. His life is joyful. He laughs easily. He smiles constantly. He expresses himself at every appropriate opportunity.
Sometimes children need to become who they are supposed to be…to be given the freedom to be themselves…backed up by the guidance of the adults in their lives.
“I NEED THEM! I NEED THEM NOW!”… ONCE AGAIN…WISDOM FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES!