Sometimes I am Humbled by My Girls.

Jumping right into the subject, this afternoon a teacher told me about an interraction she had the day before with one of the girls. "Aunty, every night I pray to God.  I don't want anything for myself.  I just pray that God would give me the power to touch my little sisters and then they could speak.  I pray to God for this every night."

The little sisters she speaks of are our four children with severe disabilities, including their inability to speak.  This is a child who had one of the most brutalized childhoods, who carries huge burdens of anger and need, but whose bottom line is that she wants most is to be able to give her sisters the ability to speak.


I am humbled.  This story came from a meeting I was having with a few of the teachers, and a few of the girls — about pencils, rulers, making correct margins… seemingly irrelevant to that story.  But at one point I said the the girls, "I KNOW where the pencils and rulers go.  They can all be found at Sabitri School!"  My girls are incapable of holding onto something if their friends must do without.  I've known from the beginning why these things disappeared, and that our girls were content to be scolded or even punished for "losing" things.  Today we joked openly about who the first girl was to start giving things away. 

Two days ago the girls were learning maps of India.  Our girls had blank maps from home that they had filled in.  I guess some of them took extra copies, because two girls gave them to friends who didn't have them.  Their friends cannot afford these things, or rather their families can't.  It's been a tension here because to staff and even teachers, the "losses" represent the girls not valuing the pencils, not "appreciating" their "good fortune" and "everything Mummy does for you."  Much as I try to counter these concepts with the teachers, they continue anyway.  The girls do know not to take it seriously.  They know that I do not think of them as lucky.  Sometimes I keep a box of pencils that I'll slip them if they ask. 

So that's how this story came out,  told by a teacher with us in the meeting.  She is a teacher and an "Auntie" and sensitive to what the girls need, and I think also humbled by my girls.  

The giving away is kept as a "secret."  I've thought about that.  But if we really put it out in the open then it would be I who was giving them the pencils to give away, not their giving away the pencils given to them.  And maybe it's a good skill to learn.  It happens spontaneously, from the heart.

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November 2010
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