A Day in the Life of a Child

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Courtesy of Pexels.

The life of a child is magical.  It is almost unbelievable that something that starts with an egg and a sperm can grow into something so complex and full of so much potential. They are sacred.

I have worked with children for more than 15 years as a substitute paraeducator, instructional aide, and teacher in various California districts. These days have been some of the best days of my life. Every time I get a new child or a classroom full of children I feel as though life is giving me the best gifts a person can receive.  My children have been all ages of special needs – physically, developmentally or emotionally challenged, or a combination of any of those things.  But I use the word “challenged” instead of disabled because disabled suggest that a person is unable to do things, which is far from true, even in the most severe cases. With consistent assistance, the children CAN learn at some level.

In one of my classrooms as a paraeducator, I served as a one-on-one for a little boy who was autistic and nonverbal, and he had braces on his ankles and feet.  He also had to have special liquid frequently to help with his digestion. Although he had these challenges, he was generally cheerful and seemed to have a good sense of his own abilities.  The only area that was a challenge was when the children went outside for their exercise.

The braces made it difficult for him to walk very fast at all, and running seemed out of the question when the aides would play a sort of baseball with a big rubber ball and “bases” leading to the home plate.  They would throw the ball and the children would run from base to base, trying to get a home run.  The little boy I had charge of seemed to see this as a time to “watch” as the other children ran.  When his turn came up, he would stand watching, but not try to move forward.  This day I took his hand, held it tight, and encouraged him to keep going.  We managed to get through all the bases, and at last made a home run.  We had two more turns, and each time I held his hand tightly, encouraging him all the way.

Soon we were sitting in the grass resting as the game was over.  I turned to him and told him “Wow!  We made three home runs!”  Suddenly he grabbed me around the neck with both arms and began to hug me until we both fell over.  I knew it meant he was so happy because he sensed his victory.

I will never forget that day.  As he got into the car and his dad began to drive him home, he reached out with both arms and threw kisses at me.  I will always have a smile in my heart when I think of that child.

 

28 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Child

    1. Hi Doug, I am very glad to meet you and I liked the “sound” if you will of your site. I think we share a lot of ideas. My whole family was military since I think before I was born – Army, Air Force, Navy. My own and only younger brother is 100% disabled from Vietnam – TBI, spinal injury, permanent PTSD and now likely early onset Alzheimer’s or possibly dementia. Hoping I am not next.

      As for me, I too grew up with old values and especially of the people, by the people and for the people. Although I was never military, I worked at White Sands Proving Grounds with a secret clearance for several military contracts of the day (Air Research; Ling Tempco Vaught at the time; and I can’t remember the name of the other one). Interesting stuff, and LOTS of corruption in those days. My boss at Air Research was an alcoholic and tried to get me to give him some contractual information that he was going to give to someone else so they could get the contract back. Happened a lot back and forth in those days. He actually threatened me that I might have a bad accident on that long and tiring drive, so I went to the big bosses, and told them all about all the things they were doing to get the contract. He got fired, and I typed up his paperwork with him sitting on the desk trying to stare me down. I was very young then, and not very experienced in the evil ways of people like this, but I stood my ground nonetheless. I didn’t stay in New Mexico that long after that. Too much drama for me. Went to Phoenix, AZ, where I started working for GE when computers were still those mainframe deals that took up whole buildings and we had to use punch cards to read the data. Oh those were the days. The world was a very different place as I think you noted too. Nice to meet you and yes, we can talk and talk and talk about the current Pres and what is happening in Washington, but it has been building for a long time. Kind of like what happened with the Nazis. People didn’t really take it all that serious until it was way too late. Thanks again and do visit my blog too sometimes for a break!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent words of wisdom and care for others. Thank you for your dedicated work in education over the years and your positive influence on children. We all have an ongoing responsibility to love them and teach them in all facets of life – and I think one of the most important is respect for each other. 🙂

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    1. Thank you very kindly. I love the special needs children. A lot of them end up in foster care group homes because the parents cannot deal with them day after day. It is one thing to be there as a teacher/aid/paraeducator, but to live with them at home and have other responsibilities to manage (often both parents work), and other children, etc. makes it very hard for them to work with the children as we do. So the sad fact is that although we do the best we can with and for them at school, if the training and work is not consistent in their lives, they will have challenges all their lives. Most special needs children are never going to be able to leave home unless they live in a group home and they have to be pretty high functioning and get along with the other children completely to live in those environments. And the jobs they are given don’t always utilize their talents and likes in a way that is best for them; it is what is best and “measurable” (a word that makes me mad every time I think of it) for the schools and the teachers. The other sad issue is that once the child reaches 18, unless they have a relative willing to take charge of them, they can go out of the system and then be abused by unscrupulous people. We have not come far in the care of those with special needs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great points. Improvements in societal issues and care have come a long way. I believe much is lost in the lack of reinforcement at home either because of the lack of training, the lack of a home environment or lack of care. We never give up though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug, you are so right. The generations seem to not really learn much from their ancestors. I wish that were not true, but sadly it is. And the more technology advances, the less able we are to communicate in any depth as we at least used to be able to do. Thank you for your good words.

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    1. BTW.. I meant to express my compassion and prayers for your brother who paid a huge price in Vietnam. The nation was so uncaring to those who served back then. Sadly, we toss the word “hero” around these days for far lesser meanings.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are so right. My brother remembers coming home and having people spit on them because they fought in that war. They did not create that war, and in their minds, they were serving their country. Very sad for sure, and I agree about the word “hero” too. Have a bright and wonderful day. Anne

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    1. Thank you very kindly DaZ. I think the things that come from real life experiences are often the best in terms of the depth of the emotions we feel. This is one that I will clearly never forget. And it means a lot more to me even now because I will never be able to go back there again. That moment in life is something that will forever be the only one that is exactly like that, and as such, a special treasure in life.

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  3. “This day I took his hand, held it tight, and encouraged him to keep going. We managed to get through all the bases, and at last made a home run.” Beautiful. A perfect story about what we can accomplish when someone is at our side, and how meaningful that support can be.

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    1. Thank you most kindly, Kim. Children have been my love and especially the special needs children for many years now. I will always be an advocate/mentor/tutor for them even though I am no longer working. I am 77 now, but I still am enjoying doing the many things I love and want to accomplish in life. Have a beautiful weekend and week following. Hard to believe this year has passed by so quickly.

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  4. You will be that special memory for so many children when faced with challenges, they can think back and move forward with you in their thoughts.
    All to many of us were denied much in the way of a childhood. In that search for understanding, I studied psychology and later went on to work in Child Protection, private therapy center, and other such agencies. We need more people like you reaching out to children and helping them to believe in what they can do. Thank you Anne, ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lea, So glad to hear from you. You and I have very alike backgrounds, although I did not work in a private therapy center. I am, however, currently a volunteer court-appointed special advocate for foster children (CASA.org). We have approx. 6,000 foster children in San Bernardino County, Southern California alone. I will always do whatever I can to help children. Someday soon I will be posting something else, this related to abandoned and murdered babies in my area. It is sad, but at least it is a story of someone doing something to try to give these tiny lives meaning and dignity. I have been involved with this, but currently working on other things. I do intend to finish my project ultimately, however. It is sort of an ongoing thing. And we need people like you too. Yes, many of us were denied the things children should have and be able to do, so I will always, as long as I can, do everything I can to help others. Thank you very kindly for what you have done too. Yes, I studied a lot of psychology on my own and still do. I hope that we all can pitch in and help out with the children. They are so much in need.

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      1. Hi Anne, yes, I can see we could spend hours chatting over coffee. I was born not far from where you are and spent some time in San Bernadino. I know CASA and have had CASA workers on a few of the cases when working up in Northern California. While I am sure there are some children in need where I live, for the most part it is quite different. Here, Children are treasured, as they have a right to be. I fear for the nation and the turns it is making. I know the vital work you are doing will be severly impacted. From this distance, there is little I can do to help there. Yes, the need is great and will be greater still. The prisons and cemetarys are filled with some who fell through the cracks and then there are the walking wounded. Thank you for all your good work and your kind and loving heart.
        Drop me a line sometime? feuetglace11@gmail.com

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  5. Thank you so kindly, Kim. I did not come by it easily, but I am very glad to be here where I am. Life just keeps getting better day by day. I know for certain I appreciate it. It is something we learn when we are in our winter years. Every day is a total miracle.

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    1. Thank you kindly, Len. Back at the end of the war, my younger brother came home from Vietnam 100% disabled with a TBI, a spinal injury, and permanent PTSD. He had been in the Air Force, and would disarm bombs when the planes would return if they managed to drop all of them (something I did not know). For the PTSD, one night when he was out on the air strip doing guard duty, a bunch of children with babies started walking on the base. My brother’s commander told the men to shoot them, and my brother was trying to refuse. The commander told him that if he did not, he would be shot himself. It was so truly sad that people used their children that way, wiring them with bombs, and they were indeed. My brother, faced with such a tragic decision, did what he was told out of fear, and hence his PTSD which he has to this day. Anyway, seeing a young man who had been barely older than a teen when he left coming back, his life and so many others ruined forever gave me the heart to help physically/developmentally/emotionally and otherwise challenged people for the rest of my life. I will probably do that until the end of my days. A paraplegic friend and I started, totally as volunteers, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) in 2005, and we helped a lot of physically challenged art quilters to get exposure for their work (most folks don’t realize or understand how difficult this is for them, and also to teach them professional development since I have worked with art and am a professional artist myself) and we did this for some 15 years, most of the time when I was working with special needs children and young people within the school districts. I did this as a substitute because I did not want to spend my time doing reports and trying to make my own self look good instead of focusing on the children. I have also tutored children and adults with special needs as well as others for this long time. For me, this is not work but a life-long (almost) love. Thank you kindly again. I also rescue animals, and contribute art for the Wounded Warrior project, so I will share some of those photos one of these days soon. Again, thank you most kindly, and it sounds as though you have your own wonderful story too. I am glad I met you; I think you are very inspiring.

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