Today I have another heartwarming story about helping others. This mother says: “I didn’t cry when I learned that our two-year-old Kristi had, as we suspected, mental challenges. ‘Go ahead and cry,’ the doctor advised kindly. ‘It helps prevent serious emotional difficulties.’ But I couldn’t cry then nor during the months that followed.“When Kristi was seven, we enrolled her in our neighborhood kindergarten. It would have been comforting to cry that day, as I left her in that room full of self-assured, eager, alert five-year-olds. Kristi had spent hours upon hours playing by herself, but this moment, when she was the one difficult child among twenty, was probably the loneliest she had ever known.“However, positive things began to happen to Kristi in her school, and to her schoolmates too. When boasting of their own accomplishments, Kristi’s classmates always took pains to praise her as well. ‘Kristi got all her spelling words right today.’ No one bothered to add that her spelling list was much easier than anyone else’s.
“Then, during her second year in school, she faced a very traumatic experience. The big public event of the term was a competition based on a culmination of the year’s music and physical education activities. Kristi was way behind in both music and motor coordination. My husband and I dreaded the day as it came. On the day of the program, Kristi pretended to be sick. Desperately, I wanted to keep her home. Why let Kristi fail in a gym filled with parents, students and teachers?
“What a simple solution it would have been just to let my child stay home. But I forced my daughter to go to school and forced myself to go to the program. When it finally was time for Kristi’s group to perform, her class was divided into relay teams. With her limp and slow, clumsy reactions, she would surely hold up her team.
“The performance went surprisingly well, though, until it was time for the gunnysack race. Now each child had to climb into the sack from a standing position, hop to a goal line, return and climb out of the sack. I watched Kristi standing near the end of her line of players, looking frantic.
“But when Kristi’s turn came, the tallest boy in the line stepped behind Kristi and placed his hands on her waist. Two other boys stood a little ahead of her. And the minute the player in front of Kristi stepped from the sack, these two boys grabbed the sack, held it open while the tall boy lifted Kristi and dropped her neatly into it. A girl in front of Kristi took her hand and briefly supported her until she gained her balance, and then she hopped off, smiling and proud.
“Amid the cheers of teachers, schoolmates and parents, I thanked God for the warm, understanding people in life who made it possible for my daughter to be like her fellow human beings that day.
“Then I finally cried.”