Johnny silently hugged me as he came through the door of the classroom. Throughout the day, I looked his way and most of the time he delivered a happy, loving smile. The school day continued that way until it was time for the final goodbyes.
This was a second grade class consisting of children who knew me well as this was the fourth or fifth time I had spent the day with them this school year. Partially because of the population, partially because of their age and maybe because it was almost the end of the week, they were extremely chatty, except for Johnny.
He was distressed at the noise level, covering his ears and shaking his head. But due to his support for me and his discomfort, he constructed a notebook paper sign that had “STOP Talking” in the largest letters he could create. And he began waving it in the classroom at the noise-making students.
It’s difficult to say whether or not the sign had any effect. Several other students wanted to assist me in my silencing efforts, writing “Be Quite [sic]” and marching around the room. But Johnny was relentless, waving his paper and smiling his regrets at the disrespect we were witnessing.
It was time to leave. Once again, Johnny silently approached me and delivered his hug. It was my opportunity to remind him how much I treasured him because he was so very special. In return, he smiled again and proceeded out the door.
Many teachers never have moments like these or they fail to recognize the gifts that they represent. But I am so very fortunate to be hugged. If he grows up to remember that at least one educator cherished him, I am luckier still. Shalom.
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