Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday's Meanderings: Teacher in Reverse: Daughter and Father

Today I went to the library, and while I was there, I saw something so touching I had to write about it.

I was in the YA stacks of the Children's Library, and I heard this soft voice saying, "No, Dad, that word is 'running.' You know the word 'run,' so just put the 'ing' to it."

Another soft voice, somewhat deeper: "He wa...was run..running too far.." "No, Dad, not 'too far,' 'too fast.' Try it again."

A silence. Then the deep voice said, "I don't know, honey. I don't think I'll ever learn again."

The sentence was spoken in bits and pieces, with pain evident in each word. I didn't want to be a snoop, but I guess I am. I had to know what was going on. I stepped quietly around a couple of bookcases, and stopped. In front of me was one of the round tables for small children, complete with the little chairs. On one chair, stooped over and barely sitting on the seat, was a tall, thin man with his face in his hands. Sitting next to him, on the table itself, sat a young girl about fourteen. Sweet face, dark curly hair, dark eyes full of tears. She sat with one slim hand on the man's shoulder.

"Dad, you will learn again. Look how far you've come this year. I won't let you stop learning until you can read all your own books again."

He raised his head and smiled at her. He got up slowly and painfully ( any adult who's ever sat in one of those kindergarten chairs knows you can't get up any other way, no matter how strong you are!), held out his hand to his daughter, and they carefully picked their way around the other tables to the check-out counter.

I checked out behind them, and as I walked out, I saw the father pointing at various trees, cars, a rabbit hopping by...and naming them all for his daughter. She was laughing and hugging him around the waist as I drove off.

Teacher in reverse: daughter teaching father all the things, and in the same loving, patient way, that father had once taught his daughter.

How wonderful. How remarkable. Courage, love, and patience all bound up in one beautiful, 14 year old package.

What remarkable thing have you seen lately?

Until next time,
That's a wrap.


  1. What a beautiful story, Mikki. Witnessing a moment like that is precious.

    Something I thought was remarkable happened this weekend. My daughter was required to take a trip to New York City with one of her Art History classes. Many of the students were concerned about getting lost as they traveled through the subway from one museum to another. Although the teacher had little concern for whether the students were keeping up with him, there was one student (he must have younger siblings) who looked out for the entire class of 40+. He took head counts, waited behind if some didn't make it across the street during the light, and basically, looked out for the whole flock. As a mother who was at home praying, knowing how nervous my daughter was, I was so impressed and grateful for this young man, when she told me about him the next day.

  2. Yours is a great story, too. It reminded me of when my daughter and I went to Spain while I was doing post-doctoral work at the university of Barcelona. We had gone with a group of post-doctoral students, studying one subject or another internationally, and our "mentor" did much the same thing. He showed us on a map where the "red light" district was in the city, told us not to go there under any circumstances, and that was the last time we saw him. I was fine with it, because my daughter and I could make our own way around the whole country, but there were some younger students there who were quite lost. We were living with a Spanish couple during our time there, so through them I arranged for a guide to help out the students who wanted to go places when they were through with classes during the day. Some people just think only of themselves, even when they have others to look out for...then the you get the examples of this student and this young girl, and the universe falls into place. At least for a while.

  3. This warms my heart. I probably would've started crying if I witnessed this.

  4. It did bring tears to my eyes when I saw them walking through the parking lot, with her arms around her father's waist. So much is said about the callousness of today's teens, and how much trouble they get into, but when you see even one example of the goodness and selflessness they can exhibit, it wipes out all the other bad things.