Kindergarten is a big transition for any kid. For our littlest, it was an epic transition.
I’m not sure who was more scared- me or him. But, you know, some things in life you bite the big one and suck it up. You hold on to your hats and pack that Star Wars backpack and say jolly things like,
“It’ll be great!”
“You’ll make so many friends!”
“I hear there are markers, and snacks, and three recesses!”
You’re over-happy-words fall flat, receiving only the grouchy look of a 5-year-old barely containing his rage at a world that is too noisy, too scratchy, and just a lot of work.
Enter Ms. Tinkey, and Mr. Kumm, and Mrs. Leonard, and Mrs. Baer and all the people who make the world a better place to be, one child at a time.
Zeke wasn’t just unsure of new places and new faces. For him, this was torture. Going to a new place, having a new routine, was like signing up to listen to nails scraping down the walls of the chalkboard, the sound of dial up internet stinging your eardrums, every moment, every day for the first month and a half of school.
This is sensory overload on steroids.
And I came with my delightful checklist.
“So, he’s gluten free and we try to avoid food dyes, especially the red ones. Sorry.”
“He hates holding a pencil, so if there’s an assignment he can use a marker on sometimes, that helps a lot. Sorry.”
“Sometimes he just needs a moment. Or 12 moments. Or 42 moments. I’m so sorry.”
And to everything I recited, Ms. Tinkey smiled and said, “Yes! We can work on that!” with actual joy. Not just fake niceties, but compassion and perseverance shining through. You see, some kids don’t receive services or have special classrooms, but they need a little extra touch of care. Teachers and helpers throughout the building made it their personal mission to turn that scared, grouchy face into a smiling, happy boy, who wanted to be there. A smile, a high five, the ability to turn down a high five if desired, persistent affection…all these things go a long way for spectrum kids, indeed, for any kid.
This, my friends, is the Lutheran School difference. The staff at Zeke’s school don’t get up to teach and shape the world every day.
They get up to show Jesus to every child every day as well.
I’m pretty sure that they get tired. I’m sure they get frustrated. I’m sure they wonder if it makes any difference at all.
This blog would simply like to say yes, yes it does.
Your work in reaching in to little hearts, to growing hearts, is vital for my family and for countless other families out there. The world is a better place not because you showed up to work, but because you showed up in their lives. You are woven into the fabric of who they are becoming as teachers and leaders and workers in the kingdom of God and the body of Christ.
You make an eternal mark by being you.
A special kindergarten teacher once taught us this fun little song, that fits perfectly here…
Keep loving on those kids. Keep supporting those families. Keep sharing Jesus. Keep being you.
*as always, no Zeke’s were hurt in the making of this blog. His permission was asked and granted to share his story.