Last Tuesday was our first day back from break. Well, not our first day technically, that was Monday. Tuesday was the first day back with kids. The district gave the kids one more day of break so staff could prepare for to start with The Covid’s sibling, Omicron. Grade level meetings for the week were canceled, so, my usually busy start to a Tuesday, had a more relaxed pace.
I eagerly awaited 9:00 when I would begin teaching again. I got to begin 2022 with one of my buddies. This buddy, a kindergartener, and I have been working together for a few months. He’s a great one. All kindergarteners are, but this one, he’s got my heart. He’s got my heart and every time I pick him up, he’s got my hand.
I made my way down to his classroom. I saw him. He saw me. He paused. “Hi.” he said in his calm way. “Hey buddy! Happy New Year!” Silence hung in the air. Finally, “Happy New Year.” he finally said in response. “Can you go get your red book bag?” He nodded and off he went to the cubbies. No sooner was he back that he reached for my hand and just like that 2022 was starting out in the same way 2021 ended.
We walked, hand in hand, to my room. We chatted. We passed our custodian, Mr. Al. “Happy New Year!” my buddy said. Mr. Al stopped, “Happy New Year to you, too!” To hear him interact with another in a positive, appropriate way, warmed my heart just like his hand in my warmed me.
We sat down at my table. “Can you get your Flair Pen out of your pouch?” “Is this my pouch?” he asked – looking for confirmation that he was right. I nodded. He unzipped his orange pouch and pulled out his orange flair pen. I was moving papers and alphabet cards when he broke the silence of preparation. “It’s not a flair pen, Mrs. Sherriff.” His voice more alert and alive with discovery. “It’s a heart pen,” I half listened to him but then stopped to listen more “A heart pen?” I questioned, wanting to understand his thinking. “Yeah! A heart pen — see it’s got two hearts on it!” He pointed to the cap, where, indeed, there were two hearts etched in on the metal clip. Paper Mate’s logo. “You are right, buddy! It is a heart pen and that’s so much better than calling it a flair pen.”
When my oldest, now 21, was little, she never used the term bare feet. To her, bare feet, was better captured with “wearing my toes”. Kids are so smart, wise in ways that we are not. Once again, I was reminded of just that. It’s not a flair pen, it’s a heart pen. And nothing’s better than heart.