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I Have A Dream

December 20, 2011
Santa is stupid and lame

A couple of my 8th grade students still believe in Santa. This one doesn't.

Thursday afternoon, last week. Two days left of school until our holiday break. It starts raining, hard. I have the windows open in the back of the room. It’s beautiful white noise backdropping the pencil scratches of my 5 girls who sit across the front row in my classroom, working diligently to finish their research essays. Three boys sit in the back row of the class, two writing conclusions and one “researching” Martin Luther King, Jr. By “researching”, I mean he’s watching videos of his most famous speech. The sound doesn’t go up very far on our ancient computers, so the familiar zeal of Mr. King’s compelling voice is barely audible above the sound of the rain. The class is silent. I stand between the children and the open windows at the back of the class, surveying. I only hear MLK’s voice and the rain.

This moment is surreal. Everyone is on task. It moves me. The world has stopped for us.

Then, unprompted, one of my girls from the front row pipes up: “I have a dream that one day I will be better off than my parents.” That’s all. No one responds. She keeps working. She’s 16. She has 11 siblings. This child floated on the water during Katrina on a blow up air mattress, losing her mother for 3 days before being reunited with her. Her handwriting is illegible. When writing, she doesn’t finish words or sentences. She gets picked on, gets in fights, cries because her life is so messy. These children battle so much every day, including me, I forget they dream. When I’m reminded, it’s overwhelming.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2011 9:34 pm

    Your story reminds me of children the world over who have no dreams because there is no reality other than the destitution they live in. I give to charities like UNICEFand my local foodbanks, etc., but it’s never enough. I’ve lived a good life and I’m humbled by the “reality” of others who don’t have anything and nothing to look forward to. If the socities of the world would do the right things in helping the less fortunate … what a world it could be.
    U B WELL!! G.

  2. December 21, 2011 2:18 am

    So beautiful. Her story is already being told!

  3. December 21, 2011 9:44 am

    moving 🙂

  4. December 21, 2011 6:02 pm

    thanks for all you do!

  5. catherine permalink
    December 23, 2011 11:25 am

    Thank you. I loved it. In our busy lives, we all need a reality check.

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