"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Daily Life, 55

Second Grade Music, around 1pm this afternoon:

Me Hey, Jonas*, wouldja wait here a minute after class? I want to ask you something. You're not in trouble.

Jonas* OK.

We waited until the class left, then sat on the bench in the hallway. I leaned down, retying my shoelaces (and taking a very long time to do so).

Me So, um, anything going on for you today in Music? Anyone bothering you or anything?

Jonas* Nope.

Me Well, you seemed out of sorts all class. That's not the Jonas I know. The Jonas I know is someone who's usually bouncing around trying to play every drum, and cracking jokes, and having fun.

Jonas* Not today.

Me Hmmm. Today I noticed that you got crabby when I noticed you were fooling around rather than playing the drum. That's not normally your way, either.

Jonas* Mm hmm.

Me Hmmm...what'd you have for breakfast?

Jonas* Nothing.

Me Well, what'd you have for lunch--cookies? candy?

Jonas* No.

Me You sure? Because you seem like you've had a bunch of sweets, and now the grumpies have invaded you.

Jonas* No.

Me Come on, pal, talk to me. I can tell something's not right but I'm not a mind reader. What's going on? If I did something to bug you, please tell me so that I can fix it, OK?

Jonas* I ate lunch. I had a pb and j sandwich and I ate every bit of it.

Me OK.

Jonas* (with a completely frustrated sigh) And I'm still hungry!

Me Did you ask your teacher if she had more snacks, or the lunch ladies if they did?

Jonas* My parents won't let me ask the lunch ladies for food.

Me OK. How about your classroom snacks, the ones you guys have in the morning?

Jonas* I ate that too. I'm still hungry. I didn't get dinner last night either. I'm HUNGRY.

Me Well, that explains a lot. Jeepers, Jonas, I get crabby as all get out when I'm hungry. How about we find you a snack? Look, there's the PreK teacher going by with the PreK snack. Let's see if she has any extra.

(She did. She offered him an orange right there, or to come to the room for an apple from the basket. He chose the apple.)

Me Hey, buddy, remember, when she gives you the apple, what're you gonna say?

Jonas* looked up at me, finally yielding a small smile. "Thank you?"

Me Yep. And if this happens again, let someone know, OK? It's no fun to be hungry.

Jonas* OK.

You know, a year ago, I would've scolded this child for fooling around during class, and sent him off to his room. Makes me grateful for the people in my life from whom I'm learning to be a listener first.

*Jonas, of course, is not this child's real name.

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