Blog Your Blessings: Knowing When to Fold 'Em

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How children play. Especially those children whose parents don't speak much English. And how they touch my heart. I run an origami club at school, and the only condition of membership is that the kids have a ride home promptly at 3:30 p.m. so I can get home to my daughter. On average, 9 kids show up every week. The going home is the hard part.

A few weeks back, one boy who recently immigrated here from Puerto Rico by way of the South Bronx did not have a ride. He just wanted to be here. We dialed every number in his official file until someone came. "Didn't you ask your mother?" I asked, annoyed as heck. "She signed the permission slip, miss." Yeah. "Does she speak English?" "No, miss." Does she know she needs to be here now?" Yeah. "I told her this morning." Yeah. "Did she hear you?" Of course: "I don't know, miss." Never again, I told him. Don't come if you don't have a ride....Yes, miss....

He showed up again. "Do you have a ride, my friend?" I asked him at the start of the meeting. I figured we better get the phone call ball rolling early so I could get home for dinner. "I told my mother, Miss." The tape from last month started playing. I started folding. He would get home eventually.

His mom was only a half hour late after three phone calls. And as proud of her son as he was of himself for what he had created with a few squares of cheap colored paper.

That left me with one child, whose mother has always been on time. She is a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic. A bilingual wonder and a student in one of my classes. "Where's your mom?" I asked. "I don't know." Again the tape stared....

She had to make three calls. Finally, her grandmother called her sister, who could not come because the gas tank was empty and she had no money. What to do.... Somehow, this older child hitched a ride on a bus for the kids who have detention and spirited the little girl away. Just 45 minutes late.

OK, so the kids broke the rules. They lied to me. They played me. They showed no concern whatsoever that I might be angry or inconvenienced. But they wanted so badly to stay after school and fold squares of paper into birds and boxes and stars and the like. So I let my heart out of the box and let it be. Because it's not about the paper. Never was. It's about hanging in there. And something to do with believing there's a star with your name on it that hangs in the good company of others in this cold universe. It's all good, even when it comes a little late.

Comments

  1. This is a beautiful story. Bless you for the love and attention you give these children.

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  2. You are exactly the kind of teacher I wanted (and sometimes got) for my kidlets. You are the kind who makes it such a noble profession. You're turning out fine little people. Thanks for that.

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  3. and they are so darn talented i love the stuff they make... you ever thought of selling it so that they could have a bit of cash for themselves or what ever??? I know one ga peach who would buy some :)

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  4. And what a blessing YOU are to them! Definitely a worthwhile project to learn. Something that will remain with them all their lives so you will continue to be a blessing to them long after they leave yoru classroom.

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  5. This is a beautiful piece. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. You're writing about real hero work - even the writing is an act of heroism.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this story Sandy. Bless your heart for being so kind. You have a wonderful and noble profession.

    Happy weekend.

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  7. Great post.
    I have a little glimpse into what ou are talking about. When I was the Cub Scout leader for my son's den. I had similar things about rides home and other such matters and the kids didn't act all that appreciative but after a while it didn't really matter about that. It was about the kids.

    Its all good.

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  8. I hope your daughter understands...too bad she can't join the after school group and help out. It's wonderful what you are doing and affects so many lives.

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  9. You are their Miss Josephsberg. THE best teacher I ever had until I got to college ...

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  10. Anonymous1:46 PM

    This sounds a tad bit corny, but you are a hero. I see the comment above about your daughter and wishing she could understand. I know she does, but you should have her read stuff like this, if she does not already, so she can see how lucky she is, even when she does not have 100% of you.

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  11. Oh Sandy, hang in there. You are collecting stars for your crown. I am so proud of you.

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  12. Sandy, there is definitely a star with your name on it.

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  13. Have a great weekend sandy! very nice post!

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  14. good on you sandy!

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  15. Very fine post, Sandy.
    I always admire your great positivity.

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  16. Hi Sandy, your patience is so admirable. I totally enjoyed reading your article. Sweet.

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  17. You are a great teacher, Sandy! A teacher with a heart! Thanks for writing this story and sharing it!
    Have a great weekend!

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  18. Your words so often touch my heart, create a lump in my throat and bring tears to my eyes. When I left teaching 9 years ago, many lamented my choice and I wondered who would step into my shoes. I prayed that those who follow would care about children as I do and offer them opportunities to love learning. I'm grateful you (and others) are out there caring and sharing. I pray for teachers, children and parents every day. Thank you and amen!
    Hugs and blessings,

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  19. There's just something about creating something, especially something beautiful, that's so important for kids. My son comes home from school -- so much he *can't* do that the other kids find easy -- and creating something is the best cure. God bless you and all your little paper-folders!

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  20. This is just one of the multitude of things I adore about you Sandy. But I suppose you already know that. And I'd echo what others have already said -- the "blessing" in this story goes both ways. You are a wonder, girl.

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  21. You are really awesome. I remember the end of a teaching day and just being darned glad it was over... then again, it's also pretty awesome that there are still kids who get excited enough about folding paper to cause this kind of trouble too.

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  22. I wish you were my kids' teacher. Heck, I wish you'd been mine.

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  23. Stories of your kids always bless me. Sometimes it is nice to not go by the clock, eh?

    And thanks for your comment. They always encourage me. :-)

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  24. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing this story. Your talent of making paper origami and care has brought of love to these children.

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  25. Anonymous2:18 PM

    I want not approve on it. I think polite post. Especially the title-deed attracted me to study the intact story.

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  26. Anonymous12:36 PM

    Nice post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

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