Monday, May 16, 2011

The Greeter

A lot of you know that the wheels have been turning for several years to build a new high school program for kids with learning differences. I am very excited, relieved and honored to tell you that this program will open in the fall, and Rojo will be in the inaugural class. Really, not enough can be made of this. The program is going to rock. The program is going to change the lives of the kids in it. The program is going to change the lives of the kids not in it. The program is going to change the community and the community is going to change the larger community, and so on and so on and so on. May sound grandiose, but I believe it to be true. I've seen what's happened to the community Rojo is currently in, and I think that's one of the many reasons he's "here," to evolve thinking, simply by being himself.

Rojo has taken it upon himself to be the greeter at school. It started last year, he'd stand next to the principal at the top of the stairs that everyone has to walk up to get to their classes, and he'd say good morning to them. The principal was kind enough to share her post, although I don't think there was much she could have done to shut it down, even if she'd wanted to. He was a man on a mission.

This year Rojo has stepped it up. He simply must be the very first student at school. Despite the weather, he is there before even some of the teachers. He stands outside and greets each student/parent/teacher by name as they arrive. Sometimes middle names are included. Sometimes he asks, "How is your _________ (mom, dad, wife, husband, sister, dog...)" And sometimes there is an accompanying "I love you." Although I believe he loves each of the people that arrive, he somehow has figured out which people find that comforting to hear, and which might find it kind of creepy. I guess in the scheme of things this is a much bigger knowing than say tying shoes, differentiating between left/right, push/pull, behind/in front of, etc, which all still allude him.

Rojo has a month left of school before his big, big, let me say it again, BIG transition to high school. As much as we've worked and planned to make his next four (or more) years of high school an extension of all that's working for him now, including many of the same people/community, it will nonetheless be epic. I know there will be bumps. I know there will be things we put into place that will need to be readjusted, subtracted, tweaked and abandoned. I know that he will in many ways be a guinea pig, and the program won't be all that it's capable of being until he's long gone.

I also know that when he walks in the door each day he will be greeted by name, by at least one person and probably many. I know that he will be told he is loved by at least one person, and probably many. I know that with that foundation, anything else is a bonus, for isn't that what we're all looking for in the end? To be known, and to be loved.

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