Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I can still feel the joy that the generosity of strangers brought to me one Christmas past. The memory inspired me this year to give Kelly a small gift this week. It is a musical ornament that pops open and plays Jingle Bells as the inside scene turns around; perfect for a little girl. I paid nothing for it; it was a handout from my mother in law, who impulsively bought four of them on The Shopping Network and was thrilled that I had someone in mind who would appreciate it.

Kelly was thrilled when she opened the package, alone with me in my classroom. I told her that I would find a place to leave it for her to pick up later, since I didn’t want her to have it when everyone else was there (and didn’t want to risk hurt feelings in the boys). Unfortunately, her ADD got the better of her, and she later forgot where I had told her she should pick it up later, and she had to go home without it (or miss the bus). I later learned that she started to cry when it wasn’t where she expected it to be. She also sobbed when she got home and called her dad at work, begging him to take her back to school to get the gift. He convinced her to wait til the next day (last day before Christmas break). Another of her teachers told me that she brought it to class the next day and spent the entire time during their holiday gathering walking around the room in her own little world, the ornament up to her ear, singing along to the tune.

What a treat it was to make such a big difference with just a small gesture. Never mind that she brought it to my classroom at the end of the day (when everyone else was there) and took it out to show everyone. Never mind that when a student asked, “Who gave you that??” and I waited to hear our rehearsed “My Secret Santa,” she instead chirped, “Mrs Forsberg!” with a pride-filled grin. For some unexpected reason, the boy’s faces did not register hurt or anger. They instead registered, “Oh. That’s nice. I get it.” 

I guess the Christmas spirit is alive in my classroom.

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