The Little Girl
In the early 1970's I was completing my final semester of student teaching. At this particular time young men were rarely found teaching in the early grades of school, but my advisors thought it would be a great experience for me. Today, I am so thankful for their persistence to get me in a second grade classroom. If not, I would have missed a little girl who changed my life profoundly.
As I am no small person, the kids in the classroom just stared at me from their tables without saying a word as the classroom teacher introduced me. Within seconds, the first student wanted to show me their work and then the next... and the next... and the next. I soon got down on my knees to look them in the eyes and fell in love with this new world. From that moment on, I was truly in love with early childhood.
It didn't take me long to notice a small girl all alone in the room, who never talked nor let anyone get near her. The teacher told me that her parents had been killed just a few months earlier. Day after day I made it my mission to connect with this beautiful little girl.
As the days went by, subtle changes began to happen.It first started with the little girl finally allowing me to sit at the table near her - but not to close! This was soon followed by a slight smile at some of my silliness and then one day she talked to me out of nowhere and never shut up from then on. As time went by, she began to trust the other adults and kids alike. It was such a marvelous thing to witness.
On my last day just before Christmas, I went back to the classroom to say goodbye to the kids and teachers. This beautiful little girl waited until everyone was done talking to me. The teachers and I watched as she walked slowly across the room to me with her dark eyes focused on me. I dropped to my knees as she placed her arms around my neck, hugged me tightly, and whispered in my ear, "I love you." I have never forgotten that feeling even after all these years.
YOU GOTTA LOVE CHILDREN!