Thursday, June 23, 2022

I Was A Stranger

"I was a stranger, and you welcomed me." ~Matthew 25:35

We had only just met, this four-year-girl and I, but we were already sitting around chatting like old friends. Markers, scissors, and plain white paper were scattered across the table top before us.

She was drawing a spiral shape, so I said, "You're drawing a spiral."

She stopped and considered it, then said with a shrug, "I call it a nautilus, but you can call it a spiral if you want."

Once she had drawn the outline of her nautilus in purple, she capped the marker, before choosing a green one. I said, "You capped the marker."

She nodded, "Yes, if you don't, they dry out."

She colored a patch of green, capped that marker and selected another color. Then she switched to orange, then red, until I got the idea that she was making a rainbow nautilus. I said, "You're making a rainbow nautilus."

As she went back to purple, she replied, "I call it stripes, but you can call it rainbow."

I was struck by the compassion this girl was showing me, a newcomer, a stranger in their midst, making space for my difference.

We sat in silence for awhile as she finished coloring in her nautilus. When she was done, she pushed it toward me along with a pair of scissors. "I went outside the lines a little bit, but that's okay because you can just cut right around the edges." She pointed to the outline of the nautilus, showing me where she apparently meant for me to cut.

As I started, I asked, not wanting to ruin her masterpiece, "Like this?"

"Yes. Just stay right outside of that line and cut off all the poking out parts."

She encouraged me as I carefully made my way around her drawing with the scissors. I felt a little stress at having been made responsible for her artwork, especially as she gave me several tips and cautions as I went. I asked her if she wanted to cut it herself, but she held her hands up to me as if allowing me a great pleasure.

When I finished, I said, "All done," and pushed the striped nautilus back across the table to her. She pushed it back, saying, "It's for you."

Before I could take possession of it, however, she snatched it back, carefully rolled it into a tube, then flattening it. She handed to me, saying, "This will make it easier to carry in your pocket."

I told her, "Thank you."

And she answered, "You're welcome."


"I recommend these books to everyone concerned with children and the future of humanity." ~Peter Gray, Ph.D. If you want to see what Dr. Gray is talking about you can find Teacher Tom's First Book and Teacher Tom's Second Book right here

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