Thursday, December 20, 2012

Will Work for...Carrots?


Remember back in the day when your parents would want you to do something, and they'd offer you some small reward?  In our house, my dad would request a 30 minute back rub for a penny a minute.  Gee, thanks, Dad...a whole thirty cents.  As we got older, the price per minute got higher.  First, to a nickel, then a dime...until today.  I think if he asked for a back rub, I'd probably look up the going rate for a half hour massage, knowing he wouldn't pay that, and get out of it.

So, I said all of that to ask you this.  What motivates you?  There are very few people who are willing to do something for nothing.  I'm not really talking about doing good deeds.  I'm talking about doing work, of any kind.  Like just about everybody else, my students do NOT like to work.  Those creative little guys come up with a lot of ways to get out of work.   From picking the absolute longest song at circle time (Apples and Bananas...Jacob picks it every time.  It has a two and a half minute introduction that involves a grown man singing "banana" with a mouth full of banana.  Classy.), to crawling into a "safe place" and falling into such a deep sleep that a train could race through and he'd still sleep through it, (Kody does this often.  He snores, too.  Like an old man.  He sleeps like the dead.), to running away (see "Kason" in A Day in the Life).

They find so many ways to get OUT of work, that we have to really work hard at getting them to work.  Out general go-to is treats.  Candy, juice, cookies--that sort of thing.  Some of them will only work for those things for a minute or two.  They get distracted easily and move-on quickly.  One of my boys will do anything to be able to use the iPad for a minute or two.

We were working on an experiment with Pedro the other day.  It was the experiment where you put celery and carrots in colored water and compare how water travels through the two different plants.  We could barely get the veggies in the jars without Pedro trying to take a bite out of them.  He successfully chomped a carrot before we could get it in the jar.  1 out of 6.  Not too bad.

We had some other work to do, so since he seemed to want them so bad, we cut up a carrot and a celery stalk to use as a reward for working.  He worked fantastically well for me.  I was so impressed with how hard he worked for veggies.  Would you work for a carrot.  When you were in high school, would you have done something for a carrot?  How about when you were ten?  Let's say that you were a hypothetical multi-kazillion-aire, and didn't have to work if you didn't want to.  Would you for a carrot?  I know I probably wouldn't.

If there is one thing I have learned from being in this classroom for the last 18 weeks, it is this:  BE THANKFUL FOR THE SIMPLE THINGS.  I get so busy that I forget to see the seasons change, Jacob notices each tiny change to each tiny leaf or blade of grass.  I talk all the time, and quite honestly, many times, I talk about nothing.  Wasted words.  In my classroom, we celebrate words--spoken words, signed words, written words.  I walk down the halls everyday with complete faith that the floor--carpet, tile, wood--are going to provide the stability to take the next step.  One of my boys is terrified to cross thresholds.  Switching from carpet to tile really throws him.  He has to be coaxed onto the tile, and he holds onto the wall like a life-preserver as he goes.  He is also scared to get off the school bus.  The gap between the last step and the concrete curb is traumatizing to him.  I never even think about it.  I never go to bed wondering if my arms will still work in the morning.  Eric does.  When we're on the playground, he will sometimes look at the kids in the other classes and say things like "I used to play soccer, huh?"  or "Kristen, remember when we walked to the park?  I used to walk, huh?"  It's heartbreaking.  As his muscles continue degenerating, he will eventually lose use of other limbs beside his legs.  I wonder sometimes if he goes to bed at night thinking about it.  Will tomorrow be the day?  We take so many things for granted every single day.

I am so very thankful for the opportunity to work with these boys.  They have taught me to appreciate every single thing in the day.  Even the bad days have many things to be thankful for.

The more I think about it, the more I think that were I the hypothetical multi-kazillion-aire, I would like to think that I would still go to work every day.  I love {almost} every second of it!

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you. You are changing these sweet boys lives. And I am thankful for the reminder! Merry Christmas.

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