August 31, 1970
I’d been looking forward to this day for quite some time – the chance to meet my kindergarteners. Arriving at school for a one hour meet ‘n greet with each class, I couldn’t wait to connect. And I’d be meeting many of the parents, too.
As each one entered our large classroom, I introduced myself and asked their names. Some looked at the floor while mom prodded. “Tell Mrs. Nyman your name, honey. It’s OK.”
Others began talking and didn’t stop. A little girl named Ginny said, “I have 6 sisters.”
“Oh my! What are their names?” She listed them and then I said, “Are there any brothers?”
“What are their names?”
“Daddy and Rover.”
Some of the children acclimated quickly, diving into the toys, while others struggled to separate. I invited any parents who wanted to stay to feel free, but many insisted their children say goodbye, tears or not. There were 4 criers.
My heart went out to these little 5-year-olds being forced to go through what was probably their first major life-crisis. As I tried to comfort them, my candy and my lap both came in handy.
Once everyone was seated on the “story rug,” I asked each child to say one thing to the rest of us, anything they wanted. A little girl named Brittany pointed to her mother, seated next to her. “This is my mommy.”
I barely had time to welcome her when Brittany continued. With wide-open eyes she said, “Guess what? I just found out she’s married!”
While we adults shared a giggle, Susie, next in line, spoke up – wanting to out-do Brittany. “Yeah, but my mommy just had a birthday!”
Oh how I loved kindergarteners!
In the course of the hour we had several skirmishes over toys or whose turn it was. But with so many parents stepping up to help, I didn’t have to deal with any of it. Instead I pushed forward with a curriculum overview as we all tried to keep a lid on irrelevant comments coming from our young peanut gallery. The parents laughed when I said our first project would be to learn how to raise our hands before speaking.
I ended the hour by telling the adults I considered it a choice privilege to be their children’s teacher and promised to stay in close touch throughout the year. Many of the families already knew each other from the neighborhood and seemed to feel right at home.
We made it through the hour with everyone intact, and as I drove home to Champaign late that afternoon, I knew it would be a fabulous year.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)