"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Taking Madeline Out of the Box

posted by Susan Dominikovich on

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Madeline is 8.  There are many words to describe my middle child but most of them can be found together in the thesaurus under the word "determined." She is tenacious, headstrong, feisty, stubborn, strong-willed, successful.  Madeline is determined.  That is how I describe her.  That is the label I have given her.  That is the box into which I have put her. But today I was humbly reminded how wrong it is to put a child--to put anyone--into a box.  

Every term my children bring home their assessment book from school which showcases a little bit of their work and achievements.  As a teacher myself, I recognise that this is little more than a brag book because their learning and achievement is so much more than a few pages in a book.  But I admit, it is nice to have.  Flipping through Madeline's book before she had to take it back to school, I saw the usual things:  pushing herself in spelling.  Reading fluently above her age.  Mathematically well advanced.  And then I stumbled across a piece of her writing.  Apparently the children in her class were instructed to write about a person they know well.  Madeline chose to write about her Grandma in Canada.  Besides a visit when she was a baby, Madeline has spent little more than three weeks with her Grandma.  This is what she wrote:

In case you can't read it, I'll transpose it for you here and include her errors except the ones she corrected herself:

"My Grandma is in a wheel chair.  When we go to her house she is fun and lovely.  When she goes up stairs she has to go in this wheel chair that takes her up to the top ans some times she (takes) lets us have a turn.  Her skine is crinkeled and her hair is short and grey.  She lives in Canada.  Right now she is in a Care giving place because of her disease.  She can not go outside.  She's lonely sometimes.  She probably misses us.  I miss her to.  The next time we go to her house Grandpa will only be there and will need a lot of help."

Madeline is 8.  She is determined.  She is also empathetic, generous, loving, loyal and kind.  She thinks of others before herself in surprising ways.  She is helpful and funny, creative and imaginative.  She is a good friend and a caring sister.  She is a wonderful daughter.  She is amazing.  She is beautiful.  There is no box for beautiful things.

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