I met a curious little bird today. She tweeted a brilliant little song that captured my attention and my heart. She sang non-stop for almost an hour telling me about her day, her interests, and her joys all with such happy music. Every once in awhile her song turned slightly painful, but she recovered quickly and bravely sang on.
That little bird’s name was Cassie.
Cassie was the daughter of an old acquaintance from my younger years. Since those days as kids, we grew up and had kids of our own. Some things change and some stay the same. I listened to that little songbird for so long and delighted in her singing because she reminded me of so many kids who have so much heart inside yearning to get it all out to someone who will listen.
Sitting beside you, Cassie, as you showed me your app in that crowded restaurant, the world disappeared. You told me how much you LOVE chocolate cake, you talked about your vacation trip so far and had to be reminded several times to keep your voice down. I heard the volume in your voice, but mostly I heard the excitement, the passion for life, and the eagerness that surrounds so many children like you who see life for the great adventure it is.
Later, as you came back to our house, I watched with a smile as you began to explore. You asked politely to investigate my boys’ rooms and I watched your eyes grow wide with curiosity as you explored my teenage son’s pile of junk that you viewed as a newly discovered treasure. You reminded me in that moment how much I love (and miss) teaching. You reminded me of the wonder of a child as I happily stood back, chatted with your mom, and watched you drink it all in. It didn’t take much to get you excited. You exuded happiness.
Thank you Cassie for reminding me how much I still want to teach and help gifted kids be themselves.
I miss listening to gifted kids who never shut up because they have so many ideas that sometimes they feel as if their head will explode. I miss feeling their pain as they say, “I feel stupid sometimes” and knowing that it’s not an inner feeling; but one put upon from the outside world. I still know what it means to want to share every bit of knowledge you own.
And, you made me remember.
I remembered being told that I talked too much, feeling stupid (when I was really being smart), and alternating between eggshell walking to keep the adults around me happy and being all 110% of me and sharing it with the world. I remember walking that tightrope of wanting to ask SO many questions and knowing that being liked was in jeopardy if I did. I remember not understanding when I was too much. I catch on faster these days, but I still haven’t left behind that fragile part of me who is still so much like you.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be like you? You’re full of bubbly enthusiasm, curiosities, and wonderment with every bit of novelty that surrounds you.
You, my dear, are this teacher’s dream.