I have decided to commit to the challenge of writing something each day for the next 31 days. Each day has a writing prompt that will “give me a push” to complete that day’s challenge. Some days the posts will be short, and some days longer, depending on what kind of day I am having. So here goes.
Tell me a story……..
The first time I laid eyes on the school, it made me feel uneasy. The older inner city school looked sad sitting in the midst of this worn down neighborhood. Had I made a mistake? I was beginning to doubt my decision to take a position here.
The days there did indeed turn out to be emotionally, and mentally difficult for me. Many days I felt helpless to make any real changes in the lives of my students. One day in particular, I found myself learning a lesson that I didn’t even know I needed to learn.
His head was laying on his desk, he was obviously too sleepy to even finish his lesson. “Why are you so tired today?”
“My mom made me sleep in the bathtub last night….and it is hard to sleep in a big ol’ tub.” “The tub? Don’t you have a bed? Where was your mom? Where was she sleeping?” I could feel myself becoming indignant. What kind of a mother would make her son sleep in a hard, cold tub? The idea was completely foreign to me. The next day I had opportunity to talk to my student’s mother. I told her that her son had been tired the previous day…he hadn’t slept well. She looked at me sheepishly and replied, “I know that sounds bad, but I didn’t know what else to do. The gangs have been shooting a lot in the neighborhood the past few nights. I worry that the walls in the housing projects are so thin. When the gunfire got really bad, I put J in the tub. It is a thick, old tub. I figured he would be safe from bullets if he slept in there.”
I learned a valuable lesson that day….not to judge a person’s motives. Not to pretend I understand when I don’t know all the facts. What I thought was neglect, and maybe abuse, was in fact a mother’s selfless love for her child. She placed him in the safest place she could find.
Sometimes things are not always what they seem.