The Time My Principal and I Had a Good Cry Together

In fourth grade, my brother with special needs was born. I didn’t know anyone else who had a sibling with special needs, and was very self-conscious about it. I didn’t know who I could talk to about it.

Somehow, I got the idea to speak to my assistant principal.

She welcomed me into her office. I told her about my brother’s diagnosis, and tears began to well up in my eyes. She began to cry and told me that one of her parents had just passed away. She said some mornings she calls her sister and asks, “Why did this have to happen to us?”

I don’t remember if she gave me advice, or anything else she said. But I walked away from her office feeling very relieved. That memory has stayed with me for years. I will never forget that she treated me, a fourth grader, like an equal.

 

Story submitted by Kaylie

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The Time My Principal and I Had a Good Cry Together

One thought on “The Time My Principal and I Had a Good Cry Together

  1. Esther Bernstein says:

    Emotional response: Kaylie, that sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing that.

    Intellectual response: I think it’s less about a principal or teacher treating you like an “equal” and more about her allowing for the fact that emotion is emotion, and it must be acknowledged and validated. At no point in her story about her own grief did she “gather herself” and say “but I know Hashem must have a reason for everything, so I stop crying.” She just kept crying, and let you cry. Whatever advice she did or didn’t give you, that much is clear from your memories. You would have remembered if she said something along those lines. Maybe she knows some psychology, maybe she doesn’t and is just intuitive – but she did what a certified school guidance counselor would have done (at least immediately – a certified school guidance counselor may have followed up with other resources etc). It’s not about her treating you like an equal – it’s about her treating you like a person with emotions which do not have to be suppressed in order to be a good Jew, a good believer in god.

    Like

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