Cute true story from a suburban school near Dallas,
Thursday, 20 December 2007
My niece is in a grade school class where the teacher has her own incentive program for good/helpful behaviors. After Thanksgiving, the children in the class begin to amass points (or dollar amounts, actually) for things like getting in line quickly, for good behavior and for good citizenship things like picking up trash off the floor or helping other kids in some way. The cool thing about this system is the kids are really motivated to focus on following the rules, rather than all their boundless energy simply ratcheting them up into a rabid frenzy by semester's end, with its attendant joys of a break from school and Christmas. The last day of the semester the kids may use their currency at a "store" to buy gifts for their families or things for themselves. The merchandise in the store is provided by the teacher and some parents and other supportive parties.
Also on this day there is an auction for some more highly prized items. One of these things was an autographed poster of a member of the Dallas Cowboys. A little boy from the class with some learning disability (I think borderline autism?) was desperate to have the poster-- everyone knew this kid was pining for the poster, and my sister even mentioned it the day before, saying he was so awestruck by it that it would be a pity if he didn't have the poster for his own. However, another kid from the class was equally determined, and a bidding war ensued.
Early on, as the dollar amounts climbed in to the upper double-digits, all other contenders dropped out. The parents, the teacher and all the other children were incredulous as the bid amount kept spooling up. Finally, at around the $150 mark, the kid with learning difficulties had to concede and drop out of the bidding, having less dollar credits to spend on the poster.
The little boy who won the poster walked calmly and quietly up to the front of the class and collected his prize. He didn't seem ecstatic or like he'd won some huge personal victory. There was no gloating dance or fist-pumping. Instead, this little guy walked over to the now-dejected kid and simply gave him the poster. He spent all his store money just to give it to the other little boy who'd wanted it so desperately.
We think of young kids as being so much potential and merely the raw material which will form the promise of tomorrow, but if we look around, we'll notice they often exhibit class, dignity and true depth of character in the everyday moments of life. Yeah, they're learning and flawed just like everyone else, but every so often, they will step up to the plate and dazzle with the brilliance of their heroism.
Good on you, kiddo. Stay sweet. I'd say he won a lot of hearts that day.