JUST ONE ROUND TO GO. by David Reid Otey

One day will be the last day to do anything at all, and it might be blessed to extend into the night before the body gives up the spirit. For many there isn’t much time, if any at all, for reflection and change, for apologies and praises. So, I’m writing this all at one setting with no break, sitting in bed, a bit tired but feeling adventurous. 🙂 I will write about kids and poverty and teaching them because that is what I do for a living.

Every kid is normal for the genes they have, for the neighborhood they come from, for the brain training their families gave them and for the experiences and desires and dreams their clan direct them to.   Taught to try ? maybe, maybe not.   Taught to handle anything ? Maybe, maybe not. I call my special education kids ” swiss cheese” kids, because they know things out of order and have missing information. In the scope and sequence of learning topics, my kids can know the seventh thing without knowing the fourth. Probably because they somehow go together. They don’t have any problem with wanting to play, and they tire like all kids.  Butt they can’t keep up the pace. The other kids pass by the each one quickly. I love my work. I have variety, challenges, hope, adventure; a bunch of opportunities for contributing. And that’s why I give my grade school wonderlings some power of their own in our class. I am the example their parents cannot or will not be in guiding them to know how to see themselves as better than the insults and cruelty they will consistently have to deal with throughout their lives: the same negatives their parents experienced yet could not fight back against within their own psyche.  I allow the kids to find their talents and create with them in the class room. I give them trips to the world and to space on the school computer through virtual trips that are awesome. I give them cultural variety–the singing sisters and the Capitol Children’s Choir for the wonders of the human voice. It’s fine with me to hear a few of them sing like Peter Boyle in his characterization of Young Frankenstein. To me, it’s joy because their spirit is living and growing and experimenting without boundary, without fear. They watch artists create, like the painters who pour cups of paint over stacked blocks, to feel the call within themselves to ”play” with color and form and all of that.  One of my kids knows every single move of the pieces in Chess, and he almost kicked my butt in a game yesterday, laughing like an ape when he stole my Queen. I roared at him like a pirate. he laughed more. I can afford the time to let them ”become” some of what they are meant to be, to hopefully ”see” themselves as worthy and capable and imaginative.  There is marvel and magic and some of God’s creative power in every single person. What we can become and what we can create. What we can grow in and contribute towards. Those matter much more than conformity of knowledge.  And, so, now I must get some sleep. I have to say this was very hard to do when fighting sleep. 🙂 But I honestly made it–never once editing and never once leaving the laptop for a bathroom break. This round is up now. 🙂