There’s a part of me that worries about the little kids every time a new school year begins. Perhaps it’s from the trepidation I once felt walking into a new classroom and wondering how things would go.
In my early elementary grades, my speech impediment was noticeable and had become the source of playground mockery. Some kids would imitate how I said certain words. My face would redden like a tomato, and laughter would follow.
At recess, I learned to hover around the playground teacher. Sure, I missed the merry-go-round, jungle gym, and tether ball, but I was safe. For me, recess was fifteen minutes of waiting for the bell to ring.
The playground teacher soon realized I was her shadow, but she was nice. She asked me why I didn’t go play. As I answered her, my words were barely audible.
She bent down and looked me in the eyes. “Let’s find you some good friends and they’ll be like wind in your sails.”
She said it with such kindness, even though I didn’t really understand what she meant. With my hand in hers, I was able to meet new friends who never teased me.
Isn’t it interesting the things we remember? Like the young friends who came alongside me, and the kindness of a playground teacher who knew good friends would fill my sails.
Today’s students face their own challenges, and I pray that they have kind teachers and good friends who will sail with them. We sure need wind in our sails to make the journey.