Every child you pass by in the hall or somewhere on the streets has a story that needs to be heard and maybe you are the one meant to hear it. Each one of us experiences a very different day. While you might be happy being around your family and/or friends when someone might have lost a part of their life.
I cannot remember exactly, but I think I was in fifth grade. I used to visit my friend’s house, who had a button maker. That was something I always admired to have however I never got one. We spent an afternoon colouring and drawing on construction paper to create a couple of buttons apiece.
I selected blue construction paper and some special stickers (one with a little horse and lots of flowers), as I wanted to put a special motto on the button. While other kids may have put their initials or name of their favourite band, I decided to write “I Love Life,” with artful flourishes on the two “L” letters.
Since that day, that blue button was no less than a treasure to me. I do not remember wearing it on my shirt; however, I put it on my brown colour hat. I moved four times, living in more than five cities across three states, before eighth grade in search of a place my parents could agree to settle in. I had lived in that little town with my button making friend for only is year so, but I had made so many close friends.
My mom openly regrets, “I should not have had moved you guys from that place. You were happy and secure there” to which I reply, “Do not beat yourself about it. Forget it, mom. I have.”
I went back to my room, opened the cupboard and went through a box that was highly precious to me. The box stores a medium-sized blue button on the bottom. Holding “I Love Life” in my hand was sweet. That button always made me realize that in life things will be good, but there will be times when things will be sour. A year later in middle school, we moved across the country to another school where I made exactly one friend.
However, schools out west were very strange foreign places for me. There were no hallways in the school. Classroom doors opened making noises up to the breezes of cold and warm weather. It was more an open-air educational mart in cinder block. Bright sun or strong breeze greeted you when you left your classroom access. It was not normal it was cold.
Whenever I travel away from Midwest to a new warm-winter place, their winters feel colder to me. Houses do not have proper insulation, and as a result, sixty degrees at nights felt chilled than it does in the Midwest. I mean sixty degrees is shorts weather where I live now. That is probably one reason I love Midwest.
The teacher who taught me back then was a pretty woman with black hair. I was seventh grade and Ms. Peterson was a screamer. Because of that, she will forever be ugly in my mind. However, she never yelled at me or even really talked to me. I did my assignment writing tasks, got great grades, and there was not any behaviour issue. But as an educator I myself do not find yelling as a technique to get things done from students practice. It just does not work.
People ask me, do you remember the school lunches you ate? Ofc I do. I remember eating with my only friend I told you about. She was like the button-friend to me. I was grateful she was eating with me it was nice to chat with someone friendly and to be away from my angry little teacher. That 40 minutes lunch break with her were no less than a trip down my memory lane.
The “I Love Life” button kept on the table beside my bed reminds me of the unforgettable moments I spent with my button-making friend. Childhood is a wonderful time, but it is easy to forget that children have lives that may be anything but easy. For many, it was a painful time when adults made all the decisions for better or worse, and that had a kind of impact on our mind.
Stories change people, especially kids. Life events happening around kids force their mind to make perceptions about life and the world that could be either positive or even negative. A number of kids will not share each and every incident with their parents. But, you need to figure out the sublime ways to make sure they share the highs and lows of their life with you.
Remember what I said in the first paragraph? Each one of us experiences a very different day, and kids are no exception. They might be going through so much without you be knowing – just like I miss my friend and my parents do not know anything about it.
Every kid has a story to tell. They are just looking for someone who can sit and listen to what they have to share. You need to create the warmth they can feel comfortable being around. We always want to share feelings with a person who will understand us and what we want to convey. You need to be that person to your kids, the one who they can share stories with.