Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed big for her life.
She dreamed of being a bareback horseback rider in the circus, a singer, and a ballerina.
But life was not always good in the world around her...
There was yelling and hitting... crying and tears... having to protect her momma from her daddy... things a little girl shouldn't have to do.
And despite the fact that she knew how to dream, the ugliness of the world was getting in her way.
Luckily, this little girl had a wonderful teacher...one who saw this little girl and her dreams.
This teacher made sure the little girl got to be the horseback rider in the first grade circus.
She made sure she sang joyful happy songs with the little girl and her class.
She told the little girl that she didn't know how to dance, but she bought a ballet step-by-step book and gave it to the little girl.
She brought her mom ("Grandma"... she was called) in to give extra hugs to those who needed one.
The little girl tended to need one a lot.
Grandma always obliged
The little girl started making it a habit of hanging around after school... not wanting to head home.
So, the teacher put her to work.. for a few minutes... to make her feel wanted... needed.
The little girl loved her teacher so.
She thought she was perfect.
The little girl wanted to be just like her.
So she began asking her teacher if she could have the extra leftover worksheets to take home... so she could play "school."
The teacher smiled politely and told the little girl, "Yes. Of course. I don't have any use for those."
The little girl's dreams changed.
She knew what she really wanted to be when she grew up... a teacher.
...because she knew there would be other kids out there just like her
...that needed their dreams to be seen when they were fading fast
...that needed that extra hug when there was no one at home to give it
...to help them see that the ugliness of the world can't take away your dreams.
The little girl tries to remember this now when her students are acting out... or being withdrawn
She makes sure to give each one of them a hug every day... and extra one, when needed.
She asks them what their dreams are... and asks them how they are going to get there.
If a student asks for the extra worksheets, she politely says, "Yes. Of course. I don't have any use for those."
...and when a student says, "When I grow I want to be a teacher just like you."
It makes this little girl's heart smile.
Thank you Mrs. Ewing (wherever you are) for helping me see past the ugliness... to see that dreams really do come true, and for helping me become who I am today!
Last Mango in Paris
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