My hope to expand compassion in my daily life has been taught to me by children this week. (On Monday, my daughter Ellie, and today a student.)
I work in a school with special needs students. Leaning against the wall underneath the white board, I read a Geronimo Stilton chapter book with a student. The going was slow, but we were making progress in an exciting pirate tale. Another little friend scooted closer to us with his Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. As the pages were turned this student progressively inched closer and closer to us. He not so subtly pretended to read his own book as he watched us.
This went on for twenty minutes, until finally, he was knee to knee with us. One student and I reading together, another pressed against us watching over the rim of his book. I dared not question his actions. His eyes conveyed he meant serious business. We sat all pressed together for quite some time. As guided reading ended, he tugged on my arm and waited for my reading buddy to find his seat. He leaned over tight against my ear, ‘I understand now. My friend does not know how to read yet.’
Later, the classroom lined up for specials. I watched the two boys stand together. One put his arm around the other, ‘I can read with you too, whenever you want.’ They walked like that for awhile down the hallway, even though they were meant to be in a single-file line.
If you are compelled to draw close to someone, they probably need you.
Bust up single-file lines when appropriate, we were meant to walk arm in arm.