“Hope is thing with feathers”
Last Thursday, our entire fourth-grade class lined up to perform for their parents. Alongside the excitement and carefully styled hair and immaculate clothing was hurt feelings. Things were said in that line. Unkind words. Fortunately, children are less skilled at hiding their emotions. If you watch and listen in the midst of merry sadness stands out. Then a student pulls you aside to say, “Can I tell you what happened?”
The doors to the auditorium opened. It was our turn. They filed in. Shoulders back, tears dried and recited Emily Dickenson’s “Hope” alongside their own metaphors for hope. One student stood and said nothing. The words of hope ring around her, but at this point, she refused.
Words can break us down.
In between performances, there was time for private conversations. Still no smiles from that hurt child.
After the last performance, they ran to the playground equipment. I walked over and saw two kiddos, the cause and the effect of the sadness side by side smiling. I commented on their change, and the cause said, “I kept thinking of a way to apologize, and I finally came up with this — hope is a simple sorry and makes people open.”
Ah, the power of words.
The next day, we walk out to lunch to screams and cries, “Hope is in the sky!”
They were right. There it was. Skywritten above us: H O P E.
“It’s there for us!”
“It’s so cool. Someone did that for us.”
Watching these young souls fills me up and pushes me not give in to the incessant newsfeed that counters their future.
Our children, these kids right here and now, are the antidote to the unbelievable world events and dangerous words that have the potential to us beat down. They are the reason to act on and act up. We can not fail the gorgeous creatures before us.
Hope is the thing with jingles
That sings around on trees
And spreads the joy that people need
And never breaks nor quits
Hope is the thing with wishes
That makes you wander far
And takes you on a journey
And never escapes your heart
© Room 32, December 2017.
Thank you, Ruth Ayers, for your weekly call to celebrate. Read more here.