He had been a terror in my classroom.
He was defiant and mean. He wouldn't get up to collect his class materials. He was bigger than most of his classmates--a tangle of arms and legs slung all over his chair and the two next to him. He interrupted me over and over again. He was angry and surly, and he had a huge chip on his shoulder. I'm not sure what happened to made him so mad at me and the rest of the world, but you could see it all over him.
His class was almost ready to line up, and I was ready for him to leave.
Some teachers like to think it's nice to be a special area teacher because we only deal with their behavior problems once a week (when they have to deal with them every single day). I always like to remind them that we deal with every other teacher's behavior problems the rest of the week, so it all works out. I'd like to say that all of my students are sweet and kind and wonderful and that I miss them when they go--but that would not be the complete truth. There are some students who are just plain difficult, and I often feel like Chris Pratt when I work with them.
I was nearly ready for the next class when I heard a small child's voice crying in my hallway. It sounded so sad and little--and the way the voice rose and fell it reminded me of my littlest girl when she is deeply sad. This wasn't the angry cry of a temper tantrum, and it didn't sound like the typical cry of our students. It sounded a lot like a heartbroken toddler.
It took me a few seconds to recognize that it was the same little boy who had been so big and tough in my classroom just moments before. The same one who was so rude, was now completely broken down in the hallway. It was the cry of the child who carried some baggage. It was the cry of a child who only knew how to act tough until it was safe to let the tears fall. It was the cry of the child who refused to acknowledge his weakness. He had been stripped of all of his tough exterior and was exposed in the safety of the hallway.
And he was just another second grade boy--feeling small and in great need of some love.
I feel that way sometimes.
And I bet you do, too.
I've carried this word "small" in my heart for months. It's the Whisper I hear sometimes when my world feels crazy. It's in the quiet moments that are only mine. It's the pleading in my prayers when I recognize that I can't do it all on my own. Sometimes the world wants us to believe that being small is bad--but isn't it ok to admit that we are all, in fact, very small?
I hope you will join me in October for my next 31 Days challenge.
Happy weekend, friends.