Thursday, May 2, 2013

Noticing Kindness

Cooper snagged our neighbor's motorcycle helmet.

Once a month, I volunteer in Cooper's kindergarten classroom.  My responsibilities range from making copies to working with reading groups.  Those mornings are enlightening.  Sure, I'm there to work, but observing the inner workings of the classroom is a nice side benefit.

Wednesday morning I arrived in the classroom.  Cooper's teacher greeted me warmly at the door.  Her voice was soft and her smile (like always) appeared to be a permanent fixture on her face.  She motioned me to the cafeteria where I proceeded to work with a parade of kindergarten students on their reading.  Some breezed through "Five Stops" while others struggled.  Some tried to "work me," begging for a drink break or a tissue when they hit the first snag.  Some just wanted to cuddle.

I noted their personalities.  Obstinate.  Affectionate.  Silly.  Kind.

One particular child stood out.  He had a smile as big as Texas paired with the most beautiful eyes.  But something was different with him.  His speech was disjointed and his movement labored.  Leg braces covered his socks.  If these things were hinderances, he certainly didn't show it.  He placed himself smack dab in the middle of the action.  He plopped himself down amid a slew of children frantically constructing a marble tower.  This little fellow cheered on his classmates' efforts and then he squealed with delight when the first marble swished through the turns and landed on the floor.

What he may have lacked in other areas, he exceeded in compassion.  When a little girl burst into tears during reading time, he was the one that meandered over to her and slung his arms around her neck.  He said, "Don't cry ______.  It's ok."  She whimpered one last time and then stopped.

I almost started to cry myself.

That night, I asked Cooper to name his favorite friend in the class. He selected this special little boy.  When I asked why, he replied, "He's nice."

I love that the thing Cooper's class (Cooper included) noticed about this boy was his kindness.  

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