Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Tips From My Mom #16
The fact that this quiet, undemanding child sought me out and asserted herself in this atypical way prompted me to drop everything I was doing. I took the Berenstain Bears Bears in the Night book she offered and we walked hand in hand to the rug. We quietly read together amidst the noise and chaos in the room.
It was a nice moment.
The interesting part of this, for me, was that this exchange happened during lunch. Our kindergarten students eat lunch in the classroom instead of going down to the school cafeteria. Generally there is about ten or fifteen minutes of independent reading between the time the children finish eating and when they leave for recess. While the children read and mill about taking and returning books to the various book bins, I busy myself with wiping down the tables, sweeping the floor and putting food away. It is not a particularly relaxing time for me as I endeavor to move quickly though these tasks in order to get the little ones out the door in time.
It was during my cleaning frenzy that this small girl looked up at me and asked me to read with her. It would have been so easy to say, "Not now" or "I'll be over in a minute" (and probably never end up going) but I thought of my mom and set aside the Clorox wipes.
Funny how long ago memories return in an instant to influence the decisions we make. I remembered all those times when my brothers and I were young and asked Ma to play a game with us. We'd ask her when she was in the middle of cooking dinner. We'd ask her as she passed us with a laundry basket full of clean clothes ready to be put away. We'd ask her as she attended to the bazillion chores she carried out to keep our home running smoothly. Sometimes she would say "no" but sometimes she would say "yes". And when she would say yes it felt like we were given the best gift there is. Mom was stopping to play a game with us!
Today I remembered that kid perspective. I remembered what it felt like to have someone drop everything and take a moment to share something so simple, yet amazing, with me. Today I remembered my mom and that remembering made me a better teacher.
The dirty tables and messy floor could wait. But the moments to listen to a child pass too quickly.
Thank you mom for all the times you played Uno, Trouble and Monopoly with us.
Especially since I now know you hate Monopoly.