Last school year, I met an intelligent, creative, and capable, 2nd grade black girl. She was inquisitive and wise way beyond her years. I figured from her conversation that she was a young girl that by circumstance, had to deal with some very adult situations. She missed days of school often but would always catch up her work when she returned.
In the spring of the year, she walked into my class with her head down. I knew something was wrong as this proud black girl always walked into class with a smile. As the rest of the class entered the room, I pulled her aside to check on her well-being.
She began to cry as I asked what her issue was. She told me that this was going to be her last day of school because she was being "put out" of our school by the administration because of her inconsistent attendance. Shaken by the news, I held it together and gave her a hug. I gave her my personal cell phone number and told her that if she ever wanted to talk she could call me anytime.
A month or so later, in the middle of the school day, I recieved a call from her. I took the call in the middle class expressing to her how much she was missed and that I would call her after class. We spoke briefly and she told me the name of the new school she was attending.
The next school year, I took a new position at the Board of Education in the school district that she was attending. I looked her up only to find out she was at a school that was 2 minute drive from my job. I got the email address of her teacher and I explained to her new teacher who I was and that I would like to come up to the school to have lunch with the student. The teacher thought it was a good idea so I explained to her that I would email her to make sure that the student was at school on the day that I chose to have lunch with her.
I went to the school and waited for her to come down the hall. When she saw me, her face lit up like a child who sees all the presents left for them on Christmas morning. We hugged and had lunch in the school cafeteria. I told her that I would come to her school for lunch once a month just to check and see how she was doing. Our once a month lunch dates brings joy to us both. We laugh, sometimes cry, and sometimes we just eat in each others company.
There are so many children that just want a trusted adult to communicate with. Sometimes they just want someone to listen. Just think if we all took an hour a month to just hang out with a child to see life through their eyes. It could make an immeasurable difference in the lives of our children.
With this being the first day of the year, I implore those who are able to take some time out to just communicate with a child. Leave your electronic devices in your purse or pocket and gaze into their eyes. Let them know that they are special.
Originally posted on 1/1/2017