She touches the people who have the honour to know her. But she’s doesn’t know it.
Her genuine spirit makes me want to be more. But she doesn’t realise it.
In our family, she’s the one that makes us all laugh. But she doesn’t try.
She’s the child with a strong and simple faith. It’s effortless. I’m humbled by such a faith.
She’s the child who runs out in the rain, hands to the heavens to shouts with joy, “This is a gift from God!” She does.
She’s the child that will comfort me, sensing when I’m sad or stressed. She says, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay mum.”
She puts her hand on my cheek, almost as if I were a child.
Her voice. Oh, she sings, ever so sweetly. I find myself waiting in anticipation for her next tune to pierce the air. It makes me stop, and listen. Almost transfixed.
I look over at my husband, and we both smile. Everytime time we hear her voice.
That’s the sort of joy she brings.
Yet, this little girl of mine struggles at school. She has many different challenges to work through each day, like a working memory deficit, dyslexia, sensory process challenges and the anxiety that comes with all of that.
Sometimes I’m afraid. I’m scared as she matures, the burdens may diminish her spirit. That peers around her might judge her for her challenges rather than see her for her beauty. I worry teachers may look at her like a burden rather than seeking to facilitate her strengths.
But I stand encouraged. And I remember something a teacher said. It was a long time ago now but I can hear the words as clearly as if it were yesterday, because they struck me so deeply at the time. Words from a teacher, not at all emotive, but exceptionally dedicated and patient in the education of her pupils.
In an interview early in the school year she said bluntly, “Kelly, she will probably always struggle at school.” Then she continued, “But I have no doubt she will be successful in life, because she works so hard. She tries really hard.” She went on to describe my daughter’s positive interactions with fellow students and how everyone liked her.
Tears well in my eyes as I recall the words. I sit here in front of my computer and find myself crying. Such simple words but they meant so much to me at the beginning of the school years. What an incredible thing for a mother to hear: less about how her child excels and more about how her child strives to overcome. There’s so much beauty in that. Perspective even.
Teachers, you may not know how your words can encourage. You may not know how far your words can reach into the years. So thank you.
And mothers: those of you who have children who don’t quite fit into a box at school. Let us stand with these small and beautiful people as advocates.
I say it like a blessing: Let them always see their beauty as we see them. May they never lose their joy but always strive to overcome bravely — fearless even — and see this as an achievement weighing more than a mark on paper.
And — yes! — may they find their place to shine, and let them shine so very hard, and so very free.