Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Strength Of A Little Girl

Photo Credit: JK x via Compfight cc

Earlier this week, one of my sweet fifth grade girls lost her father. My heart broke! I couldn't help wonder "Why? Why this family?" And then I couldn't help but reflect on the challenges that lay ahead for the family and my student. I'll call her "Heather" for the sake of anonymity. There will be many times in her life where she will "ache" to have her daddy's embrace, advice, and listening ear. I know because I grew up without my father. There were so many times growing up when I just wanted to be a "daddy's girl" and couldn't be. As her teacher, the next question that I asked was, "How can I support "Heather" through this tragedy?"

I went shopping and found the perfect little figurine that reminded me of Heather's beauty both inside and out. It reflected all that I'd learned about her- her passions, her values, her desire to be a girlie girl. We've shared so many little talks and giggles this year because building relationships with my students is/was a top priority. I was glad that I'd taken the time to know her.

Last night, I went to the viewing. The line was long, and it took over two hours to see the family. But, as I was looking at the pictures that the family had on display, I felt two little arms wrap around me from behind, and Heather's voice saying, "Ms. King, you came! Thank you!" As I spun around, there was my sweet Heather that had been looking for me in the crowd. Our conversation was sweet. It was full of tears and laughter as we looked at all of the pictures of her with her dad. I gave her my gift and had to smile as she expressed her delight. She was so appreciative that I would think of her.

It didn't stop there. By now the line of people had moved a little, and I was almost to where the family was standing. Heather stayed close to me and introduced me to all of her cousins, aunts, uncles, grandpas, and grandmas. She made sure that she was near me as I hugged and talked to her mom. It touched me. Heather's strength was so apparent that others noticed as well. She was holding this little family together during their darkest hour.

Not only was she strengthening her family, but she also was strengthening me. As is very common, my kids teach me something every day. Relationships are so important! It's not about the facts, the content, and the test scores! It's about learning together and enjoying this journey. It's about telling each other how much we love and appreciate them. It's about building each other up and celebrating our talents and gifts. It's about living in the moment. It's about life. It's about love.


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