A handful of years back, I was working for this non-profit organization that supported school-based programs both in and around the Greater Los Angeles area.
This organization in and of itself, was highly committed to offering resources within the local community and its schools, in addition to providing its wholehearted support to a group of people who were hired to provide direct services.
From previous experience, I was well aware that I had to travel South and be over the hill and into the next valley by 6:50 am, for a 20-minute commute, otherwise the drive would be 1 hour longer than I intended and then I'd REALLY be late to my assigned location.
Up at o' dark early, I dragged myself outta bed to attend to a much greater need... My stomach, which requires food immediately.
Having soothed that savage beast (that is my stomach) following refrigerator raid of whatever remnants of dense protein leftover BBQ from the night before.
I continued with the ritual of getting myself presentable (so I can be identified relatively as a human) and out the door.
Travel for the most part, was nicely uneventful. Still pretty early upon arrival, I found the location peaceful. A few parents with their children and some staffers but the environment was very calm and quiet. The air was cool and the sun was just warming up the exterior of the building with a faint amber glow.
Once I found myself inside my space, I settled into my usual routine:
Propping the front door to the office wide open;
Opening of three windows to refresh the room;
Prepping my work space;
Set out a folder of papers to review;
Glance at the notebook schedule to keep track of the day's events;
Sipping my favorite orange spice tea;
Organizing my schedule to meet with students, parents, teachers and administrators.
As the time flowed along, the growing collection of voices were gathering outside of those three open windows. Adults conversing with their children, exchanging "Good morning," salutations with other adults. The increase of children squealing, giggling, singing, talking, yelling and "NO SCREAMING!" sternly announced by an administrative member.
Right on schedule, the events of this day were unfolding. The bell in the church tower had sounded cuing the adults to lead the students to their home rooms. With the collective shuffling of the human herd of feet, produced a sound that multiplied the modest number of 300 to that of a resounding 1000 pairs of feet.
Once these pairs of feet found their destination, there were a few stragglers whose hurried shuffles echoed through out the halls.
One parent with their very young student, was solidly engaged with their child. While comfortably holding their child's tiny hand that disappeared within their own. Both child and parent were in complete eye contact with each other and smiling warmly, while making their way to their destination. A bit of the conversation which I was fortunate enough to witness (with the door being wide open, this statement couldn't be missed) , were the words of the parent, stated lovingly to their child, "This is really important. You need to remember to form your own sentences."
Feeling a reflexive smile form on my face, I thought about what the parent said from their perspective, which I can only imagine, because I'm not a mind reader. At merely a glimpse, I saw the child looking up at their parent, smiling, listening and nodding. Secretly and silently, I was congratulating the parent for taking that moment to teach their child the importance of having their own thoughts. Their own words. Encouraging their student (who may have been a pre-k or kindergarten pupil) to form their own sentences, at such a young age!
I never tire of witnessing a parent encourage their child to become their own person.
For you, I have much gratitude for allowing me to share this memory with you.