A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Alan

Every morning, I would sit with Alan, a 3rd grade student with ADD in Mrs. Lowery's class . Alan arrived every morning smelling like a cigarette. He would sit at a table outside the room  in a catatonic state, eat his breakfast, wait for his meds to kick in, then work on problems from an SOL workbook. Alan's  routine had been established to prevent his disrupting Mrs. Lowery's 3rd grade class as it was getting ready for the day.

Both Mrs. Chinn and Mrs. Lowery always had a kind word to say to Alan. Every word and gesture communicated the expectation that Alan would complete his work and be a good citizen in his class. Mrs. Chinn had developed a positive, caring relationship with Alan, so he tended to be compliant with her.

When I worked with Alan one-on-one one morning, on the other hand, I was taken aback by the venom directed at me: "Your face," "you're ugly," etc. I had not expected such venom from a 10 year old child. Mrs. Chinn was quick to identify the source of the problem and made arrangements for Alan to get his medication.

I took turns reading The Lion King with him for the 20 minutes while Alan remained at the clinic, waiting for his meds to kick in. For a short-time while listening to a favorite book, Alan seemed like any other angelic 10 year old. When he returned to his class, which was working in the science lab, he quickly settled back into his normal self, on the surface compliant, but beneath the surface an angry child who had internalized a lifetime of verbal abuse.