He always starts talking to me when the line is coming in from the playground, before he's even crossed the threshold of the classroom. This tells me he plans what he's going to tell me each morning near the four square court. He always repeats himself a few times, because it's important and I might not have heard.
"I'm playing baseball and I'm going to get one hundred dollars for every game, 'cause that's what they get."
"This spring?" I ask.
"Yep. A hundred dollars. That's what you get."
I've volunteered at the snack bar for Little League, and I know what they get per game. I can only hope that his mom will clear things up before the first game is over. I hate to see him looking at the real after-game compensation--a paper cup with lukewarm orange soda.
I take the coward's way out and nod my head vigorously and say, "Wow! Cool!"
The teacher can't be the one to crush their hopes and dreams. When I was in the sixth grade, I was on my way to swimming lessons. It was our neighbor's turn to drive. He wasn't my teacher, but he was the Assistant Superintendent of Schools. I had just finished my first novel It was a hundred pages written mostly on colored notebook paper. I told that Assistant Superintendent that I was going to have it published. I was so proud. And then...he laughed. Real nice. Luckily, my amazing sixth grade teacher, Mary Rinear, said, "Of course you'll have a book published. You're a writer."
I didn't bother calling the carpool driver when ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER was published. But I did call my old teacher. I found her, still teaching at a school 3,000 miles away from me. She said, "I'm not surprised. You were always a writer."
I think that all young kids are natural liars until they are taught to tell the truth.
Somewhere teachers are also taught that they should never tell a kid that they will never be successful with their dream, because later on they may be truly successful.
I am reminded of a classmate of mine in high school. He was an alcoholic then and always a little shady with the law. He is now a big millionaire legally. Go Figure.
It reminds me
Go Ann! Love that sixth grade teacher. I was sitting in church today seeing a whole bunch of high school kids that were once my sixth graders. I knew their hopes and dreams, and I loved riding that wave with them. Like your dad, I've had more than a few kids that even at eleven have some shady "notions," lie and try to beat the system. But I always tell them I believe they'll get over this way of being and will make some really special dreams for themselves. You just gotta believe! (Can you tell I'm a Mets fan?!) By the way, I'll bet that lukewarm orange soda tastes like a hundred bucks!
The powerful lesson of listening only to the positive....Look where it has taken you!!
Cannot wait to read the book to Audrey,
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