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An Unexpected Walk


Photo taken by Glenn Carrie

This isn’t the first time I have written about this young man and I’m certain it won’t be the last. But this story has to be told and now is the time to tell it. Not because it is unique, but because it is far too common and yet I don’t think many are aware of this narrative.

For this young man school is difficult. And to be quite honest, this young man can make school difficult for those around him. Sometimes he has a difficult time controlling his temper and sometimes he simply has his own agenda. If you were to know his whole story you would understand why. But his smile will melt you and I truly am going to miss him this summer. Despite the fact that we had some difficult moments together. I have learned this year that many times our strongest bonds are the ones that are forged.

So when I did not see him get off of the bus on the last day of school I asked his older brother where he was. His older brother always looks after him and so I figured that maybe he was sick or maybe he just didn’t want to come to school. He told me that his little brother wasn’t coming to school. I am ashamed to admit that a small part of me was relieved. His absence meant one less battle I would potentially have to fight on the last day of school.

I went about the rest of the day and did not give his absence another thought. The last day of school is quite busy and so my thoughts were occupied with many other issues. But then I got the message.

He had walked to school!

What? He is only in kindergarten! His walk to school would not only be long, it would be dangerous. To get to school he would have to navigate many streets, some safer than others, but each one with its own unique challenges. I could not believe it!

His teacher told me that she was going about her day when all of a sudden she heard a knock on her door. The door that leads to the playground! Not the front door of the school. And when she opened it, there he was with a smile on his face!

I honestly don’t know why he had to walk to school. Maybe he missed the bus because he overslept. At this point I’ll never know. What I do know is that on the last day of school a small child, who struggles at school, made it to school all by himself. He wanted to be with us. He could have just have easily stayed home. But he didn’t.

School isn’t a place that he finds much success. But maybe it is where he finds the most success. Maybe it is where he feels the safest. It is clearly where he wanted to be. And I must always remember that. That, despite the fact that he missed the bus, he used his little 6 year 2 month old legs to walk to school all by himself.

The next time he and I are working through issues I will look back to this day and remember that despite the choices that he makes at school, school is where he wants to be. And we must keep it that way! No matter what.

Was his day perfect? Not even close! But his not-so-perfect day was spent with us. At school. Where we can help him get better. Because that is what we do and that is what we will continue doing. But most importantly, that is what he wants. To get better. And he is.

And you know what?

So are we.

I hope he never has to walk to school all by himself again.  But at least if he does, I know it will be because he wants to. I wish I could have been the one that opened the door when he knocked. I wish I could have seen the smile on his face when he finally got to where he wanted to be. That would have been nice. But just knowing that it happened gives me a little bit more hope and it lets me know that what we do matters. Matters enough to cause a 6-year-old to walk to school on the very last day. Because we were where he wanted to be most.

“What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.”





4 comments on “An Unexpected Walk

  1. dashthebook says:

    Jon, you have such an ability to capture moments, and the stories behind them. This is such a wonderful pictue into the mindset of this little boy, and the lens with which we need to see all our beautiful children. What a great reminder!

  2. Lisa Schwartz says:

    Another nice story to remind us to take kiddos where they are and build positive relationships with each and every one of them. Some days it takes everything we’ve got, but a better alternative than what we get when we don’t show them love, care, and respect.

  3. All I can say is, “Wow!” We all have these kids, amazing in their own right. And while they can be difficult at times, we must always remember- we are a huge piece of thier lives, every day. We need them to have a positive experience in order to have the opportunity for success.

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