When I think about what my bosses notice me do at work, I’m never correct. Some of the biggest things I accomplish are not noticed by anyone. On the other hand, the smallest effort outside the box, everyone sees. Doesn’t that seem opposite of what life really is?
While my mornings are filled with my non-verbal kiddo, my afternoons are pleasantly occupied teaching reading in an older grade. Another aide and I share a group of four students in which we manage four reading rounds of 15-30 minutes. Every week we have a new book for guided reading. A few weeks ago it was about a penguin selling hot chocolate. With my not always wonderful habit of speaking before I think, I said: “We should have hot chocolate this week!”
The other aide looked at me, a bit perplexed while the kids cheered at the idea. I mean, we were reading about it all week, shouldn’t we have some? Of course, when I left the classroom, I immediately forgot.
I forgot the next week too.
I finally remembered on my day off, Friday. I was in town anyway and drove through at McDonald’s to get five small hot chocolates. I snuck in the back door of the school with a bag of tiny marshmallows and a tray of steaming drinks. I dropped them off in the quiet room where we study, with a quick warning to the aide I usually work with that they might still be hot in an hour.
“Aren’t you staying?” she asked.
I smiled at her, “Are you kidding? It’s my day off, I’m so outta here! Have fun!”
I got a note the next week from our excited Special Ed Coordinator. She was thrilled that we thought to include drinking hot cocoa to go with the story. Turns out, one of our kiddo’s had never had it before. He loved it, of course. She said, “Now every time they read about Hot Chocolate they’ll taste it, maybe they’ll wonder if it had marshmallows, it opens windows in the mind.”
Here we are a couple of weeks later and our story is about a mouse who wants to touch the moon. It’s a no-brainer, I own the moon. A 3-D printed moon with all the cool features and lit from the inside by an LED, I mean, it’s really cool!
If you think the kids thought Hot Chocolate was cool, they went nuts for the moon
Of course, I wasn’t there because I’m not on Fridays, but it was another big win in reading. We have pictures of each of them holding the moon that we will print and send home with them.
I got an excited text from our coordinator, but really, it’s such a tiny thing. An afterthought is what it was.
All my energy and brain power is focused on propelling my Kindergartner into self-reliance and communication. I just show up to reading and read. It’s odd, isn’t it?
I don’t think we truly understand the power of tiny things. If we did, wouldn’t we fill the world with them? Wouldn’t we quit dreaming of being the hero and find so much more satisfaction in being water, in filling the cracks and gaps? Doing those things that don’t require any effort at all, or so it seems, could that change the world? Could I change the world with only my passion?