Friday, January 28, 2011

the way that children teach us

about love

I have a little boy in my class who has Down's Syndrome. Devin is full of affection and laughter. It's been so much fun this year to watch him interact with the rest of the class. It has been pure joy to watch him change them.

Each morning at morning meeting, we do something I call download. We go quickly around the circle and each child says, "Today I feel ________ because _______________." Each morning Devin says, "Happy! P.E.E." But, we don't have P.E. every day; only on Fridays. Every Friday morning without fail, the class cheers when he says, "Happy! P.E.E."

This morning at the end of morning meeting Devin stood up and went walking around, bending down and giving hugs to the kids sitting circled up on the floor. Each child in my class, with no prompting from anyone, returned his hug with real affection. We're talking eight year old boys, you know.

When the love fest was over, I took a minute to tell the class that we all need attention and affection and sometimes we need an extra dose. I told them that when we need it, it's a good idea to follow Devin's example. I told them that when you need affection, give it. When you need attention, give it. I told them to ask for what they need without embarrassment. I told them to be like Devin.

And then I moved on with our morning. But not the kids.

Instead, they listened to me. They really heard me.

When I turned around to see why they weren't following directions, I saw the whole class standing up and hugging each other.

36 comments:

Anyes said...

Children have a lot to teach us indeed :-)

Debby said...

Ahhhh, that is so sweet. They listened well to what you said. I think that is called a teachable moment.
When I am done with my SACC program in the morning, I wait for my granddaughter to get off the bus. I always give her a big hug and tell her I love her. While I was doing that, two little girls from the SA
CC program came up for a hug. Then I looked up and there was a boy from the program. (these three only attend PM SACC) So I said, "Group Hug." We all stood there hugging and giggling.

treece said...

wow. i just stumbled onto your blog while i was on line. YOur post today about love in the air, what a great thing to read this morning. :) thank you.

Lubna said...

Aww. That must have been such a great moment. As I keep saying: You are an awesome teacher.

Char said...

what a beautiful moment - thank you for sharing that

Rita said...

Relyn, I've always enjoyed hearing you talk about the kids in your class and about all the things that they have gotten from you that they wouldn't have gotten elsewhere. I've watched you teach and I know what a fantastic teacher you are. I'm so proud of you and of the things you give to your students. They do not know how very blessed they are to have you as a teacher. I love you.

Yiota said...

thanks so much for sharing this! i really needed to be reminded of how much children can teach us.

Diane said...

What a happy and sweet event to start anybody's day. Diane

Erin Wallace said...

Children are so pure; we can learn so much from them. Especially from a child like Devin who most likely wont become jaded by the world and live purely in love. They really are the greatest teachers.

Scrappy Grams said...

Tears dripped, my dear! I so love the open-wide arms and willingness of kids' to love. Hugs, how I miss having them whenever I need it. Bella, my kitty, doesn't offer them.:(
By the way,which do you teach- 2nd or 3rd?

S. Etole said...

How blessed those children are to have a teacher with your insight and compassion.

Jennifer Richardson said...

What a gift you've been given
....we've all been given
in Devin.
Little angel with skin.
That makes my heart jump
up and twirl:)
Thanks for sharing, Relyn,
Jennifer

Roban said...

After a particularly trying day with a few 8th-graders who won't take responsibility for their actions, reading this put a smile in my heart. Thank you for sharing such a sweet story. Devin is a blessing to others. How wonderful that your other students were able to learn from him with your guidance.

Sandy K. said...

Amazing, isn't it? I teach a class on Inclusion for general ed teachers, through a university in the area, and we talk about this all the time. The need to teach all the children in the class to embrace differences. This is a PERFECT example. Thank you for sharing!

jackie said...

that melts my heart. children really do know alot about love. it is so wonderful

TheEccentricLady said...

Relyn, You amaze me. I am so thankful that you are sensitive to the moments and go with it. I am thankful Devin has you as a teacher. I hope these kids will continue to be his friends through the years because of how you approach your teaching. Bless you!

Sonja said...

Hi Relyn:

I hopped over for a visit from Rita's blog and I have so enjoyed my visit here. What a beautiful story of love. These Down's children have taught so many about love and you shared it perfectly. I always love the heart response from other children as they begin to reach out and share what has touched their little hearts.

I'll be back for more!

Blessings!

Sonja

Marilyn said...

All I can say is "Wow". What a powerful lesson today. I would have shed a tear or two for sure.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

That makes me want to cry, Relyn! What a beautiful moment. And I bet you, they will remember it. The feeling! You are a wonderful teacher.
Happy weekend to you,
Kirsten

Jeanne said...

I love your stories
Love you

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Aw, what a sweet, sweet story!

Debby said...

Hi again Relyn. Make sure you read my post today. I made reference to you. FOr some reason it highlights your blog name but won't take you there. I hope that my readers will look you up.
(((((HUGS))))

Christine Laennec said...

What a wonderful story. Those children are very lucky to have such a responsive teacher as you!

Amy said...

Oh my word ... that brings tears to my eyes! It is the children who teach us often times, isn't?

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Children under your wings are truly fortunate and with your telling us about your day, we can strive to become 'more like Relyn, and 'her' children...

ELK said...

so much to learn from kids!!

Ragamuffin Gal said...

What a great story! I could just see it through your words ~ wonderful <3

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

What a heart warming post!

I came from Rita's, and I am glad she mentioned your blog. It's lovely!

Doris

spread your wings said...

this is so touching. thanks for sharing your class with us. i know you were all warm and fuzzy inside at that moment.

interesting - word verification - bemine

CountryDreaming said...

Wow. The whole world could take a lesson from Devin. Thank you for being his teacher. I hope you will publish this story of yours somewhere beyond this blog. It needs to be seen.

susanna said...

Ohhhh....ohhhhhh....I LOVE THIS, RELYN. (feeling all weepy now) You truly are an inspiring teacher. That must have made your whole day!

elizabeth said...

*hand on heart*

This brought me to tears.

Oliag said...

This is one of the nicest things I have read in days! Thanks for sharing this with us Relyn!

Georgianna said...

What a magical, special moment you created in their lives, breaking through any socially imposed constraints and reaching into the best part of your students to bring the best part out. Wish we all could have seen it. xo

Jaime said...

That is just amazing! The love these kids are sharing...I can feel it from here...my heart just skipped a step as I read that last sentence.
The world needs more teachers like you. Imagine what the next generation could bring to society after having been in a class like yours?
Oh, I love you. xo

gkgirl said...

Wow...I just got teary reading that...
xo

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