Why do I do what I do?
Why did I make a career shift and focus on the mental health of young children?
This is why...
Today, I received a "love gift" from a little 4-year-old who out of respect I will call "Adam".
Adam: Gives me a non-working cell phone, "My Momma's on the phone."
Me: "What's her name? Momma?"
Adam: "No, it's 'B'."
Me: I grab the phone, "Oh. Hi B."
Adam: With a play phone to his ear, he watches me...
Me: "How are you, B." and I continue with a pretend conversation...
Adam: Whispers to me, "She's hurt."
Me: "Oh, I'm sorry that you're hurt. I hope you're feeling better."
Adam: Still whispering, "She is better, but a man pushed her." "A BIG man!" as he raises his arms very high.
Me: "Oh, I'm glad you are better, but that is sad a big man pushed you. That is NOT ok and I'm sorry."
Adam: "And, she has a hand disease."
Me: I stop talking on the phone and look at Adam, "A head disease?" as I touch my head...
Adam: "No, a HAND!!! disease." as he shows his hands.
Me: "Oh, a hand disease. Well I hope she gets healed of it and feels better really soon." I smile.
Adam: "Ms. Gerri, I'm gone make you sumthin'." He looks around the classroom, grabs a pipe-cleaner, thinks, and goes back for another one. After a few minutes of hard work and pokes to his tiny little hands. He gave me this love gift.
In 19 years of working with children, I think this is my most treasured gift. I showed Adam love and he immediately returned the gesture.
Adam is not on my caseload. Another child in his classroom actually is. Since Adam knows me from working with the other boy, he has gotten to know me and looks to play with me when I enter the room.
You see, Adam is in trouble in this classroom, ALOT. He actually was in "time-out" when I walked into the classroom this morning.
But, something about our relating together helps him feel safe, and you know what? I wouldn't trade that for all the money in the world.
That's why I do what I do.