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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In Just One Week

Last Wednesday, a mere one week ago, I was doing something completely and utterly different than I am today.  I was sitting at a crude desk, surrounded by first graders. The bench was tight as two little bodies sat and I occupied the last bit, my long legs continuing down the aisle. How does one sit ladylike when she’s wearing a dress and sitting 2 and half feet off the dirt floor? I attempted.

I was starting to loose my voice as I tried to talk over the kindergartners next door, their voices coming through the thatch walls. “Ok, and now write, ‘I am’…that's correct ‘i’…am…’a,’’m.’ Now write your age. Write how many years you have. That’s right, now ‘years old’…” I continued. “Faith, sweetheart, I need you to now write ‘I like’ and then what you like to do…Princess are you finished? Can you please read Christian his letter?”

In the moment it was both a huge challenge and exhilarating. It was amazing how much they could do and at the same time how much they have to learn.

I loved first grade. I remember things about first grade that I don't remember about other years of school. I remember really learning how to read and doing math problems. I remember learning how to address a letter and having both a mouse and chickens as class pets. My teachers were a little crazy, I’ll admit, but in the best way possible. It was all so that we would learn.
As I sat in that first grade classroom for the third sweltering day, the day where I knew most of their names and knew the ones that were helpers and the ones that just needed extra attention, I saw their potential. They didn't have pencil boxes, overhead projectors, incubators or tubs of markers. But just like my first grade teachers, their teachers wanted them to learn and grow and excel. 

As we all together inched {and I mean snail pace} towards finished letters, I couldn't help but have love and joy overflowing within me. Such a simple act, writing a letter, but what a profound impact. Each child went home with a letter and a photo of the person who took the time to send them care. And each child wrote a letter. It may have been done with me muttering “oh dear” under my breath, without edits {and thus a few crossed out words} and very much in colored markers. But they did it. They wrote them. They struggled and fought through.  And I was so very proud.

Pictures coming soon!

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