Many years ago I led an intensive preschool speech-language intervention program. I had 6-8 three- and four-year-olds in my charge, each presenting with severe-to-profound speech and/or language delays. I was really good at that job, and I loved what I did. I felt directly responsible for effecting change in these little cuties’ lives, enabling them to communicate and better interact with their loved ones and the world at large. Some students I remember more clearly than others, but I remember them all in some way.
One student I remember well was named Tavares. Tavares was what you might call a reluctant learner, kids I now call educational hostages–kids who are there because they have to be, but would rather be anywhere else. Tavares wanted to be at home, but when he was at home he wanted to be in school. When he was in my classroom, he wanted to be on the playground; when on the playground he wanted to be tearing down the hall. You get the picture. He was a huge challenge to reach, and yes, he was only four years old. He screamed and kicked, he threw toys and food, he told me to f-off (YES, he was four). He spent more than his share of time in the sad chair (my version of a time out, where kids had to watch the other kids having fun while contemplating their crimes against humanity). But every day I would sit down at my computer and write three good things that happened with him that day. Some days were a real stretch, but I forced myself to write down three positive things that passed between us. As the school year marched forward, it was easier to document the good stuff, and by mid-January, he’d grown into a (well. . . almost) model student. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to him, and how he is doing today. He’d be about 21 years old now, and while I don’t expect he’d remember me, I remember and practice the lesson of finding something good every day.
I think in the end we learned a lot from each other.
Here are my Three Good Things Today list:
- Because yesterday sucked a lot, my co-worker and friend Rebecca bought two cupcakes for me because the bakery wouldn’t sell her just the frosting. (what the hell, you cupcake fascists?? I gave up baked goodies almost three years ago, but remain a whore for frosting. It is NOT baked, and you may be thinking, technicality, but it’s MY rule to interpret, bend and/or break.)
- I learned that I wield the power of potentially embarrassing my 9-year-old in front of his ‘girlfriend’ at the school dance Friday night. I do believe we have a temporary ceasefire in the deliberate farting department.
- I posted this on Facebook today, and I thought it was pretty clever. And true. But mostly clever. I’m easily amused, and sometimes give myself too much credit for being more of a wordsmith-slash-comedian-slash-philosopher than I actually am:
Sometimes the universe leaves a flaming pile of poo on one’s doorstep. Thank you to the truly terrific people the universe put in my path before ding-dong ditching me, especially Heidi, Krista, Jenna, Laurie and my tribe this week!