Inclusionary

circle kids(source)

I taught in the schoolagers class at church last night. Suddenly, a flood of tiny people approached me. They looked way too small to be in regular school.

“How old are you?” I asked one little girl.

She held up 4 fingers.

“Uh…you need to be in the preschool class.” Turns out several of the new little ones wandered down to the wrong room. My super assistant escorted the rogues to the correct location.

Yet one stayed behind.

“I don’t wanna go!” one little boy protested. He stood no more than 3 feet high in his baggy t-shirt and shorts

“You’re not in school. You’re only five,” his big brother reminded him, smirking a bit.

“I’m five!” the boy told me, tiny hand held up with all fingers in view.

I hesitated. He seemed like he’d be a handful. I wondered if I wanted to deal with behavioral issues. His bottom lip quivered. He desperately wanted to be big. Little Jimmy needed to be included with the big kids. His older brother would have liked nothing better than for Joey to get gone. I’d missed something, though. It’s summer. I’d forgotten kids get promoted to the next grade after the school year ends.

I leaned down to Jimmy. “How about we try it tonight?”

Jimmy nodded, his face lit with anticipation.

I flashed back to earlier in the week. I called a meeting to talk about purchasing procedures at the city. We’ve had some conflicting policies, and I wanted to hash it out with all my bosses in the room. We discussed what the state laws dictate and what the city allows. Granted, we got off on a tangent about sidewalks and asphalt and how best to repair them, but that’s beside the point. We acknowledged the problem and came up with some solutions. Then…

“We need to get the attorney involved. She’ll know just what the thresholds are for purchasing and projects. I’d like the three of us there,” said the director.

I was not among the Big Three. Those included my immediate boss, the superintendent and the director himself. I felt a little left out, since I’d called the meeting, brought up the problem and provided some solutions. I wanted in on that discussion. It affects how I do my job. I don’t like getting pertinent information second hand. It can get diluted along the way.

So I felt Jimmy. Everyone wants to be included, to be part of the group. And you know what? Jimmy did just fine. He threw rocks once, which I discouraged. He tried to take balls from other kids. Discouraged that, too. He ran around and chased balls instead. He rode down the slide. He fell face down in the pea gravel once.

“Somebody watch me! Teacher, watch me!”

“I’m watching!” I called.

Jimmy spun around a pole. I smiled. I see you, mister. We all have to start somewhere. We can make mistakes and learn from them. You’re going to be just fine, picking yourself up and growing along the way. So am I.

 

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