I am not sure how to start this post. When talking abuse stories or dignity stories I always feel I am not the best to talk, I am not good enough, partial enough and that maybe it is an illusion, that I am tricked into seeing something, that I am wrong, that these words are too strong…anyhow…my story is full of echoes of such and my path brings back to those stories. I am for sure not really aware of the challenges that this story hides but I am about to bring up my light and feeling to it…
There is a little boy in the class of our daughter who acts and behaves in a strange way. All can see this and this is discussed (not openly of course) and yes, it is pretty obvious : he walks in socks into the dirty water, he plays alone most of the time, and he runs away to hide if you address him. He is rather fussy in the classroom as I heard, he can shout or rip off pages of his brand new books, or can go in crisis just like that. Of course, such little boys attract attention. And you would in fact expect him to be sitting in the back of the class, alone.
The thing is that he is sitting next to Alfie….they both share a table on the first row. Of course, my maternal instincts of protection have at first been quite alerted and I have immediately thought of the consequences of this sharing with a disturbing element; what if she would be bothered, what if she would be scared, what if she was been bullied. You see I have a very distinct and set opinion about bullying in school (and other places). I work quite a lot with the subject, I read a lot and I am interested to develop new work in the field. But of course, when it hits your personal life, all your beautiful credos and opinions can valse away in a very inelegant way. So to be honest, I thought (creepy selfishly) : Why can he not not be sitting somewhere else? My mama-protective-natural-human instincts sat there and made me feel even worse. I was wrong, I was mean. This was not the way to handle this situation. This fragile boy was in need of special extra care. And we were there sitting next to him (Alfie is sitting there but in many ways, we her parents are sitting there as well) for a reason.
And I had to work more on myself. Review my feelings. Scratch my big theories again…
Day after day, when fetching Alfie, I had the chance to meet the little boy. I had seen him hide when I was walking up in the courtyard. I had seen him with his wet socks jumping in the rainy ponds. I had seen him separated from the others, eating alone in a small room. It was last friday that he was put alone to eat in that side room, the play room. When I came in and met Alfie eating her porridge with all the others, the little boy was crawling on the floor out of the open door of the room he had been assigned. Apparently trying to distract, to attract, some kids were laughing. But not a lot of them were paying attention to him.
This is when I heard a loud silent scream inside my heart.
The scene / the miracle :
I approached him and asked, while he was still crawling, if he wanted me to come and be with him in the room. He looked at me, seemed surprised, did not answer, but instead made a thumbs-up to me. I came in. He immediately stood up and went back to sit to his little table where a half eaten piece of bread with strawberry jam was waiting for him. I sat next to him by the window. I started the conversation telling him how nice it was in that room and looking at some dolls lying in small beds I told him he was lucky to be with these 4 baby dolls. He looked at them, said “No” first, then counted them again and then said yes, there were four of them. Alfie joined us. She said to me very eager and happy that she discovered we could see our house from the school. That she would show me. I asked the little boy if his house was not so far and if we could also see it from the school. He started babbling and talking fast, telling me where he lived, to go up like this and then turn and then up again and and how far it is, that he cannot take the bus, that he has to walk…and he became very very eager, now looking me in the eyes (obsviously in contact) and I felt all that hidden need, all that denied attention, all the small human contact was unleashed and waiting to be taken care of….
Time went fast, Alfie needed attention too. She sometimes is not very good in sharing exactly that…So we went. But I felt some magic had operated. In fact maybe more in my eyes, that in any the little boy. Or maybe for him too. Maybe that hand, that presence, meant something. Made a difference. A soothing difference.
I should be careful of saying anything. I should be careful of judging anyone, I don´t want to be critical against any system, any parents, any school. But my heart feels that we, as parents, we as teachers, we as humans should be careful NOT to create loss, NOT to create wounds, NOT to create hopeless future where our children will loose the precious things they have in themselves.
Dont do that! Dont leave them alone! Care for the others! Talk to them. Give them some minutes. It feels so good for you first and then for the whole universe.