all the walls you have built around the way
you think things should be.” -Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Something happened last week. I was told something I already knew. The phrasing was off and wrong, and the words used brought me literally to my knees. Still, I already knew. I understood my young daughter sees the world differently than most souls surrounding her. Her speech therapist had already tried to covey the idea of a “non-auditory” learner to me. No one had ever said, though, that this sweet girl is way-behind, at the bottom of her class.
What exactly does that mean? Let’s review. Letters and numbers are not on her radar. She is captivated with the definitions of big, complex words and ideas. Graphic novels, karate moves, and meteorites are compelling. She dislikes cutting with a scissors or writing with a pencil. She lacks fine motor skills and focus. Yet, every day, with wisdom, Annie tells me, “You need to be kind.”
All week, I have been thinking about a poem titled “Rumi goes to kindergarten” written by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. In it, that kinesthetic learner Rumi jumps on the table and spins himself round and round. He says, “find / all the walls you have built around the way / you think things should be.”
For days, I have been facing sadness and then forcing myself to look at all the walls education places around kids such as Annie. Already she knows what is up, that she is in a different place than the girl sitting next to her. She does that female thing, comparing herself and coming up short. It is my job to show her she is smart and focused and creative and wonderful and full of possibilities.
I already know she is each of these qualities and more. The school is stuck on the non-auditory bit. Annie and I get to move the planet a bit, tip the scales and show people another way to be perfect. This is the way Annie is. Teach her where she is at, wherever that corner may be.
It’s like fall, all this beauty surrounding death as the leaves change color and float to the ground. Good-bye to all that, the way you wish things to be easy for those sacred vessels we call our children. There is grace within this difficulty, too, I know. It is as simple as seeing Annie for herself, and as hard as wrapping my mind around a new way of thinking, altering my viewpoint one letter at a time.
1 thought on “Knocking Down Walls”
oh Nancy, what a beautiful essay about a tough subject. And not tough. As you say, just an altered view. Of course you can quote the poem … the quote is something i rearranged from an actual Rumi quote, so I am not sure that I deserve any credit for it. It’s definitely his idea.
I’m glad to find your site. I’ll watch as you continue to open around this …