Today, I taught ‘Guidance’ classes for kindergarten students. Our 30 minute lesson was on responsibility and keeping ourselves safe. We started off class by looking at an old poster that has Velcro pictures that can be removed. The kids placed the pictures on either the ‘responsible’ or ‘irresponsible’ side. Three classes in, a bright, talkative little guy interrupted the lesson for the fifth (what felt like 500th) time to blurt out that he was sad. He went on to tell the entire class that he was sad because he missed his dad who had robbed a store and was in jail. I think this five year old was making the connection to examples of irresponsible actions.
When something like this happens in a class, I tell the child that we should talk more about it privately. He continued to interrupt frequently, (poor, dear teacher) and acted starved for attention. As the class ended, I shared this with the teacher who wasn’t surprised and confirmed he lives with other family members.
So later in the day, I went back to get him so we could chat privately. He cheerfully walked with me to play a game and talk about our feelings. He was chatty, no surprise, outgoing and very smart for a five year old. He, again told me that he missed his daddy who went to jail when he was in pre-k for robbing a store. He doesn’t talk to or visit him. He now lives with his uncle and cousin. Sadly, I have no idea where mom is in the picture but during meeting number one, I let the child lead the talking. Talking about dad was heavy enough. We played a fun Bernstein Bears game, and he won so he ended on a happy note and even earned a sticker!
What impressed me today is a little, but also BIG thing. At the end of the day when I was doing my bus duty, I got to see the little guy again when he was leaving. He was smiling and perky and said as he passed me walking to his bus, “I’m happy now, Mrs. Hamilton.”
To be so honest, to not be ashamed of your feelings, to throw it out there and not be afraid of what other’s will think~ That is brave, that is real, and that is so much better than hiding from the truth. Sometimes there is something so beautiful about ‘being real’. Kudos to you, little guy!