Nothing could have ever prepared me for that day.
No amount of teacher preparation courses or years of experience could have helped.
But on that day so many years ago when I saw my first grade student standing at the door
fidgeting with her dress, looking so small beside her mother
and with a big white patch over her eye
I knew that I had to do something.
Something to smooth the way for her to re-enter not only the class but life.
A tragic accident had suddenly left her without sight in one eye.
I cringe today so many years later remembering …..
My students and I had fixed a large box for her
filled with presents, notes and cards
but in that age long minute while she stood
looking at everyone
while everyone stared back at her
I sensed the great need to provide a healing bridge.
I walked over to her and spoke a few words
I watched as her mother left and wondered.
Would it be alright?
Would this nightmare begin to turn around?
I led her to her seat and all the boys and girls waited
As I moved back to my desk all of a sudden I knew what we needed to do.
Walk in my shoes-
See life through my eyes –
Thoughts that were printed on my heart from years earlier.
Others never know
until they begin to see life through your eyes.
“Boys and girls, we are all thrilled that Ellen (not her real name) is back with us
and so we are going to do something different today.”
I picked up a piece of white paper and folded it into a square.
All eyes followed me as I taped the paper over my one eye.
Suddenly my vision was sharply diminished.
I couldn’t see on one side at all without turning my head.
Teach all day?
But then I glanced back at my student and knew that I had to do something.
While this precious child watched, all her classmates made and taped on a white patch.
Our room was transformed into a classroom of students and a teacher all wearing a patch over one eye.
What a sight!
Nervous giggles could be heard.
“I can’t see very good
Ugh, this is hard
Wow, how long are we going to HAVE to wear this?”
First graders are so real – so honest.
Well, we wore our patches that whole day adjusting ourselves to the limitations of only having one eye.
I will never forget it.
Walk in my shoes
See life through my eyes!
Do you know someone who is different
a struggler on life’s journey? An elderly person who just can’t go fast.
A young child with legs that don’t reach.
Build a bridge of understanding – it’s so important that we begin to understand, my friends.
You will not only touch their life
But in the process you’ll also change your own.
And together we will light this world
making shining moments to be remembered for years and years.