That’s a Lie

Look forward please, there’s no reason for you to turn around in your seat.

And then he is, he has, and I can see the reddening of eyes, watch his wide gaze begin to glisten with tears forming.

Independent work has begun, and all around, heads bend over desks, bent on studying, on learning.

And I thread between partnered desks until I’ve reached his.

And I’m kneeling there, my crossed arms resting on the same space he’s lined his workbook,

pages open, pencil gripped loosely in a hand still recess-grubby.

He caught eight outs at kickball during recess.

I know because I was standing there in the sun, in the middle of the choppy blacktop,

and every time he caught one, I waited for the glance my way;

he wanted to see me,

and, more than that, he wanted to know that I had seen him.

And I had.

And I’d seen the beginnings of tears in his eye, just now,

and now we’re face to face, eye to eye,

and I’m prying.

Teachers are allowed to do that, often.

He’s an honest boy, a gentle heart, and I know he’ll tell me what’s wrong.

Are you crying because I corrected you, or because of something else?

He shakes his head, the nods. Something else, he mumbles.

And then, as pencils scratch all around, I tease out the details.

Over the weekend,

unkind words from a past friend;

a boy who’s been eagerly anticipating his 10th birthday is told that

he doesn’t even deserve a birthday.

That hurts him, and it hurts me where I kneel, there opposite him at his desk.

Oh, no! That’s a lie, I assure him. I’m so excited for your birthday.

And we talk about the selected day of in-school celebration, and treats, and

what a gift he is.

And he’s wiping his eyes, sniffling his nose,

and turning his gaze to his page once more.

And I step away once more,

thinking again about the lies they all might hear,

and wishing I could erase every day every word in their hearts

that says anything other than

you are so precious.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Grandma S.
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 10:38:13

    Oh my. What a gifted teacher you are, Natalie. You turned that boy’s day around with a few kind words.


  2. alison
    Mar 06, 2015 @ 14:03:33

    Natalie, if I were sending my kids to school (which I’m not…but if I were), you’d be exactly the kind of teacher with whom I’d hope and pray they’d get to spend their days. It’s so great to hear how you’re loving these little people and living out the calling God has for you these days :)


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