Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Robert and The Key

“What Would You Do if A Giant Lived in Your Town?”
~Annell Williamson, 1992, as written in a letter to her son Cory Williamson.

What would you do if a Giant lived in your town? Would you run and hide or be afraid? Or would you wish he did not live there and he was dead. Would you throw rocks at him to try and make him leave r even try to kill him before he got mad and smashed your town.

It would take a lot of courage, but if a Giant lived in my town I would very quietly sneak up to his doorstep and leave a plate of cookies. BIG giant cookies with a big note that said, “TO THE KIND GIANT!”

He would find the cookies, look at the note and say in his big deep voice, “Hmm, kind giant? Cookies for a kind giant?”

Every day, on my way to school I would walk by the Giant’s big house and when I saw him in his big yard I would wave and yell, “Hello kind Giant!”

He would wave back and think to himself, “KIND GIANT? I am a kind Giant?”

On Saturday I would go to the Giant’s house to visit him and I would ask the Giant if he would be my friend. He would say, “Yes, I will be your friend because I am a kind Giant!”

Then he would pick me up and put me on his shoulders. I would feel so tall! We would walk down through town waving at everyone--the kind Giant and me. I’m glad I have a Giant that live in my town. Especially a kind Giant.

Last week, during one of my substitute teaching assignments as a PE teacher I discovered that one of the students in my class was the same one who had a very hard time cooperating in the special education classes where I had been scheduled the week before. He is one of those students who can bring entertainment value to the rest of the students in class, due to his disruptive humor. When I was "Robert's" (name changed) teacher in Special Ed, out of desperation I incorporated my mother's advice of "accentuate the positive." She spent thirty years teaching, mostly in the Special Education setting, so her wisdom carries a lot of weight. I guess my earlier acceptance of Robert paid off; he wasn't able to blend into the PE activities, but he did find time to do a good deed during class.

All of our teams were playing "ultimate frisbee," and Robert discovered that the other students weren't including him. I worried that this would set off his reaction of wreaking havoc on the field. He ended up going onto the track and talking with another student who was also being left out. If I had been his regular teacher, I would have required him to stay in the game. But a quiet Robert is an accomplishment. I kept checking in with him and talking to him in a friendly voice. Toward the end of class he asked me if I had lost a key? I looked in my pocket, and sure enough my car key was missing. I had taken it off the cluttered keychain to fit into my pocket, so it made no noise when it fell out onto the football field.

Robert was elated that he was able to make a positive impact for me that day. I gave him my sincerest appreciation and explained that he saved me an entire afternoon of searching all over campus to be able to drive my car home. He reminded me, "Most students around here would have thrown that key into the bushes, you know." Although he spoke the truth, I was proud of him that he chose to make a difference for good, and not to behave like "most students”. People generally rise to our expectations; I'm very happy that my mother taught me to expect the best, even from students like Robert. We may not know why people act out or seem to cause trouble all the time, but with our nurturing words we can bring out the good in those around us.

1 comment:

AlisonH said...

Cool. Everybody needs to know they made a difference.

I don't know if you saw this, but a post I really enjoyed was this, written by my friend Kristine: