Friday, October 12, 2007

A Special Man

My husband, Kram, is a special education teacher. He is also a very special man. A story he recounted from today illustrates this perfectly.

He began with, “I felt so bad about something that happened today….”

Then he told me he went into Nanna’s classroom to support a boy we’ll call Kirk. Nanna instantly said, “Kirk didn’t do his homework.” Apparently this is code for, “Take him out of my room.” Nanna, like many teachers, has little patience for kids who don’t do their homework. And apparently this year, Kirk hasn’t done any homework at all this year. He probably hears a lot of impatient, curt comments from frustrated teachers.

Kram though, has read Kirk’s student record. And what most teachers don’t know is that Kirk’s got more baggage than most adults. His dad was killed in a freak car accident five years ago on Thanksgiving. And his mother has schizophrenia. He was taken out of her custody a few years ago (also around this time of year) and he now lives with his 21 year old sister who takes care of him.

Kirk and Kram sat in an office while Kram said, “I am going to have to phone your sister, Kirk.” Kirk got upset. He said, “You don’t know me. Nobody knows me.” And he began to cry.

Kram said, “Kirk, I do know. I know what you’ve been through. I know about your dad. You’re a strong young man. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost my father so young.” Kirk still didn’t want Kram to phone his sister. But Kram said, “I’ll never do anything to hurt you. I’m not trying to get you in trouble. I’m only doing things that are best for you.” So he phoned his sister while Kirk was in the room so he could hear everything that was said. And afterwards he said, “Did I say anything that was untrue?” And Kirk said no. And Kirk typed away at his homework.

Then Kirk said his birthday was coming up. And Kram said he’d buy him a doughnut on his birthday. And Kirk’s face lit up. And Kram wrote it down in his agenda (and he doesn’t write all that much stuff down in his agenda).

And when Kram told me this story, he only remembers that he made a kid cry today. And I said, today he made a kid feel like someone truly cares about him. And I think I have a wonderful, crazy caring husband.

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