That is the best word that I can think of to define our relationship with the mother and child living in our house. We are in and out of every corner of their lives trying to offer support, clarification, normalization, comfort, access, assurance, interpretation, on and on. Letters home from the teacher come through me and are communicated to her so that she can know some of what is going on with him at school. Sometimes, I don’t share the letters. If there is a space for me to explain a behavior or to suggest a strategy…I just do that. I am winging it. Hopefully, I am being appropriately respectful. Hopefully, I am helping more than I am hurting.
Dear Mrs. ,
Thank you for reaching out.
This is a fairly unique situation…I think…at least in my experience. We are all trying to do the right thing here and we will inevitably get it wrong some of the time but I think that we will get it right far more of the time.
We are in territory which is not written up in any of our collective educational backgrounds. We are navigating a space that is so tender with this little family and we all want to do that well. My heart melts when I see just how far things have come in terms of growing trust and having basic needs met and consistency in these sweet lives. Learning letters and numbers and all the rest is icing on the cake…not to belittle it at all because it is crucial for his success in life. At this point, I am happy when he leaves the house with a full belly and a rested body. I am overjoyed when she lingers to talk and let’s down her guard a bit. I am blessed when I see them working out their new rhythms and ways of loving one another. I wish you could get a slice of what we get to witness each and every day….it is miraculous.
Knowing where they have been and where they so easily could be is at the forefront of my mind every day. I also think of all of those like them whom I did not stumble across on the street and have not been as lucky…You are a huge part of their lifeline. Please don’t underestimate that. You are teaching them to trust school. You are teaching them that he is going to be ok. You are teaching them that he has a future.
I sent this out this week. I want the people who intersect with this little boy to know how much power they have. I wish I could send this message out to everyone, about every child, about every mother, about every person….
We all have some sort of role that puts us face to face with vulnerable souls. Maybe you sit next to them on the bus; maybe they come and go from your office; maybe you see them walking through your neighborhood…..Don’t take those moments for granted. You are a part of their lifeline. You are! Don’t underestimate that. Consider what you are teaching through the ways that you greet, talk, listen, interact with the vulnerable….