Wednesday, November 27, 2013

“But Piglet is so small that he slips into a pocket, where it is very comfortable to feel him when you are not quite sure whether twice seven is twelve or twenty-two.” -A.A. Milne

The things that comfort us!  Quick list of a few of my own:  every picture on my refrigerator; the baby undershirt and shoe kept in my underwear drawer; a rock from Lake Superior.  More later...

As adults we know how and where to find the things that comfort us - if only inside our heads until we get home from a rough day.  And each one of our "things" is entirely different from anyone else's because these are the special things that remind us of who we really are in our own unique life stories and experiences.

But what about kids and the things they keep for comfort?  As a classroom teacher of 6th grade deaf/hard of hearing kids, one thing not on my list of priorities was making kids clean out desks.  Not saying it shouldn't have been, but it wasn't.  Besides particles of food that might spring legs and crawl away,  there were often things inside those desks that must have provided just a bit of comfort:  a special pen or pencil, a favorite book or picture or photograph. 

Makes me think of what soldiers kept in their packs from the book "The Things They Carried," by Tim O'Brien.  The physical and emotional "things they carried" told an unforgettable story about war.  Maybe, on an entirely different level but still worthy of our attention, the things in each kid's backpack tell us something more about that unique child's special world.

I'm remembering a student who came to school each day from a homeless shelter and never  - except for an occasional laundering by one very sensitive social worker - removed her parka while at school.  Obviously this girl had emotional issues, but her "thing of comfort" was taken seriously.

So once again, and ever since Mom read these poems and stories to me back in the early 50's, the words of Winnie the Pooh resonate....especially when "I'm not sure twice seven is twelve or twenty-two!"

P.S.  Other comforts in my world:  my garden, a cancelled check in Mom's handwriting; gifts from my sisters, sons, friends and Jim; oh, and wine and popcorn.

P.S.S. Take an inventory of your special things - it's a good week for it!

Happy Thanksgiving,


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