Saturday, December 15, 2007


Last Wednesday was Hawaii Day at our school.

He nodded in reply, still sobbing.

I'm not sure why the student council chose a mid-December day for this event. Even California can get chilly this close to winter solstice. Wearing a Hawaiian shirt on a frosty morning just ain't natural. Had I not checked this newsletter before leaving for school, I would have shown up the long-sleeved shirt that I had instinctively put on.

As we sang our opening songs, I saw that less than half the kindergartners had dressed for the occasion. One boy arrived late. He found his place on the mat and joined us in song. Within a minute, however, he was sobbing disconsolately.

I had a hunch about what caused of his distress: he probably was distraught at having forgotten about Hawaii day. I can't stand seeing kids cry.

As quickly as I could, released the class to the care of Mrs. Frech and the parent volunteers. I took him aside, and asked him, "Are you sad because you're not dressed for Hawaii day?" He nodded in reply, still sobbing.

Man, how could I fix this? I suppressed a futile wish that I had stopped off at a five and dime to buy a dozen fake leis for just this eventuality. What could I do now?

I fished a piece of paper out of the recycling bin, grabbed a marker, scissors, and some tape. Less than a minute later I stuck my creation on his chest. The boy's sobbing subsided some, and he gave me a quizzical look.

I looked him in the eyes, found my deepest, most authoritative voice and declared, "Here. This is a Hawaiian sailboat. Now you're dressed for Hawaii Day." I tried to sound much more sure of this remedy than I actually felt.

He wiped away his tears, smiled, and joined the class.

No comments: