Sunday, February 15, 2009

Second graders make really good teachers

As I was helping in Olivia's class for her Valentine's Party, I was taught a valuable lesson.

There is a student in her class who has some form of degenerative disorder that has weakened her muscles to the point that she is wheelchair bound and needs help with everything she does. Despite numerous tests, doctors haven't been able to figure out what is happening or how they can stop it.

Her classmates and schoolmates have always rallied around her--in the fall her neighbors sponsored a carnival to raise money for her and just last month the school held a "Penny War" to raise money to buy her a special computer.

Tiffany comes to school when she is able, but has a weak immune response, so she's been absent for most of the winter to protect her from getting sick.

She wasn't at school the day of the party, and Liv's teacher said she wasn't sure she would be able to come. About half way through the party, as the kids were having fun decorating cookies, playing games, and doing crafts, Tiffany and her mom entered the room.

It didn't take more than a couple of seconds for the kids to realize that she had come in and they all jumped up from their seats and rushed to her, yelling her name and saying sweet things like "Oh, we are so happy you are here!" and "It's so good to see you again!"

The next thing that happened brought me to tears. All of the children burst into a cheer that was obviously well-practiced... and repeated it several times. It is short, but moving:

These children show unconditional love to someone who is their peer, yet is just a little different than they are.

I have been thinking for the past few days that I wish we could respond to each other in the same way--that we could rush to each others' sides and give a cheer for each other, even just a little inward hooray, hoping with all sincerity the best for each person around us.

Second graders make really good teachers.

Update: Thanks to Beckie for pointing out that there is a website for Tiffany: Visit if you'd like to know more about Tiffany!


Beckie said...

Lisa~ Little Tiffany was in Aden's kindergarten class. She is such an awesome little girl with an amazing family behind her. Doug created a website for Tiffany where people can also help. I'm not sure if you have a way to get this out but it is

emilyw said...

This is so totally sweet. I love the compassion that 2nd graders have. I want Braedon to have it forever! thanks for sharing this!

Julie Pia said...

What a sweet post Lisa. Kids are so kind when they feel something special in their hearts. Obviously this little Tiffany means a lot to them. She is so darling. Thanks for sharing.

Linn said...

I wasn't expecting to get on your blog this morning and for it to make me cry. That is the sweetest thing ever. I cannot imagine what her sweet parents are going through. It makes a lot of the silly things that stress me out feel just like that. Silly. Thanks for sharing Lisa!

Anonymous said...

Tiffany was in our ward, before we moved into the 5th ward. She has a wonderful family. It is so great to see all the kids in her class rally around her. Growing up with a sister who is disabled and unable to participate in most childrens activities, having other children be not only kind, but excited to see you makes their day. That's just plain awesome.

Janene said...

this is so neat! Children are definitely the best teachers in this aspect. Thanks for sharing the feel-good.