A new girl in the class decided to introduce her blind mother to the whole class when she came to the school to pick her up. But the teacher never thought the antagonistic kids would respond like this.
I knew in advance that a new child would be entering my first-grade class, and I dreaded the thought of having any new child come into this particular class, which seemed so antagonistic and competitive with one another. This class, more than any that I had taught, seemed to resent one another and the world. At lunch I heard over and over again “She got more than I did.” “You let him go first twice, and it was my turn to be first.” I kept offering silent prayers to God: “Give me help, teach me how to change these children. Teach me how to each then to love.”
I arrived early and wrote on the board that we would have a new student coming into our class. Her name is Patty. I read this to the class and added, “Let’s welcome her warmly.” Then the question came: Where did she go to school before? Could she read? Did she like sports? All important questions that a seven-year-old asks.
Recess time came, and Patty was at the head of the line. Well, that was too much for Patty. He shouted that he should be first, and he started to push Patty. Patty just turned and said, “Oh, do you want to be first? I don’t care. Take my place.” The same thing happened at lunch over ice cream. The day flew by with bursts of generosity from this seven-year-old girl.
Near the end of school, there was a rap on our door. I opened the door to see a dog with a halter-type leash leading a young woman into our class. Patty jumped up and said, “Oh, Mother, this is the best school I have ever been in.” Then she turned to the class and introduced her mother, never mentioning that her mother was blind. The class was silent, and then the children in the front row stood up and went to shake Patty’s mother’s hand. Silently the class took turns, no pushing, and no complaining.
Patty’s mother thanked the class for welcoming her so warmly. Then she hugged her daughter and said to the class, “I hope you will all come to see us. We have so much fun together. Having a daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Then I knew that my prayers had been answered by the new child that had come into the room.
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