Monday, October 29, 2007

A Little Dirt

This is an excerpt from "Embrace the wonder," a collaborative book/cd project in progress...

A paradigm is your belief system. The way you know things to be. Everything you see or do is filtered through your paradigm, thus giving it meaning. And when you have a paradigm shift, it instantly changes the way you see things.

As a boy, I grew up in a poor household. Mama said that my Daddy left right after I was born. So having to raise a family of four, she did the best she could. I had very old, worn out, hand-me down clothes. And most days, I walked to school unwashed and dirty. To say that I had low self-esteem is an understatement. I had absolutely none! I did poorly in school and saw myself as a loser. What a PARADIGM for a boy my age to see the world!

January 28th, 1974, was a day I will never forget for as long as I live. I was about seven years old and a second grader in Mrs. Chaney's class. On this particular day, she decided that we needed to focus on science. We started off by studying different kinds of rocks, stones, and gems. As usual, everything was moving along… I sat quietly in my corner; content and really didn’t care or want to participate. Next, we transitioned to Language Arts. She asked us to compare other classmates to the stones we had just learned about. We were all silent for about a minute or so. Little heads turned from side to side, back and forth. Suddenly, a hand went up...

"Lisa's eyes are blue like a Sapphire".
"Very good Alvin." replied Mrs. Chaney. She took the Sapphire from her table, walked over to Lisa and placed it on her desk.
"Joey’s hair is ruby red," added another student.
"Excellent." Again, she strolled over to Joey and positioned the Ruby on his desk. This went on until most of the obvious comparisons had been made.

"Does anyone else have a comparison he or she would like to share with the class?"
I saw Mikey Taylor’s hand go up and immediately thought... Uh –oh. Mikey was the class wise guy; always going for a laugh and even Mrs. Chaney was aware of this.
"Well, well, pay attention class, I believe little Mikey has something reeeeaally important to say. Yes, Mikey?"
"That old rock on the end there is like Timmy, because both are dirty."
Instantly, the room erupted into a buzzing laughter. I dropped my head and stared at the floor. I just wanted to crawl under my desk, never to emerge again. I figured Mrs. Chaney would sense my hurt and quiet the room. But to my disbelief, she blurted, "Mikey, I think you are absolutely correct!" She grabbed the filthy rock and headed in my direction… Then it happened! It didn’t seem like a moment that would change me forever, but it did! Half way down to my desk, Mrs. Chaney stopped and smiled at me. She raised her hand and threw that rock on the ground, breaking it in two. The room was filled with ooh’s and ahh’s as she held up both pieces. Purple light radiated from them and danced around the room revealing the most beautiful crystal formation any of us had ever seen. There was utter silence as we all gazed at this dazzling discovery. Mrs. Chaney finally made it to my desk; handed me the rocks and said, "Don’t be so quick to judge a rock by a little dirt." She then picked me up and added, "underneath that dirty rock, there just may be a beautiful treasure waiting to be discovered, just like Timey!"

As the class began to file out for recess, everyone stopped at my desk to hold and admire the rocks as if they were important and magical. It did take me awhile to crack that hard outer shell. However, I realized that one day, I too would be beautiful, important and discover that magical treasure within me. I never even told her. Mrs. Chaney, you changed my whole world in a single moment. THANK YOU!

-John Droese-


Amy said...

I'm such a dork! I left a comment but posted it before I noticed that I spelled something wrong. So that's why it was deleted.
I was saying that I love the pictures of your family. Your girls are beautiful and so are you. I enjoyed the store too. Have a great evening and Happy Halloween.

i am the diva said...

that's a sweet story.

Amey said...

That was a really superb story. Can we get more such stories? And maybe a bit more info on the project too?

Bennie said...


Will do...on both counts. Thanks for stopping by. I'll swing by to see you too soon :)

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