One of my students is seven.

We use manipulatives for math…I’m not very good with them but she is a whiz and happily takes on the role of teacher when I flounder.

She has her own names for the shapes we were cutting out of Playdoh,

“This is an Eight-let,” she said holding up an octagon,

“And is is a Four-let,” holding up a rhombus,

“And this is a three-angle,” she said waving a blue triangle.

Near the end of class (45 minutes is a long time for anyone to focus on just one thing) she started in on her own Playdoh construction using all the colours I’d let her open and some of the shapes we’d made.


She continued chatting up a storm.

“Do you want to know my middle name?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Agape.  Write it down for me.”  I grabbed a piece of paper and a marker and wrote.

“Yes, that’s it,” she said examining my letters.

“Do you know what Agape means?” she asked.

“Love,” I said thinking unconditional love may be a little advanced for her.

“Not just love...” she said, looking at me sternly and shaking her head.

I waited to hear her modifier.

Strong love.”  

Tears spontaneously sprung to my eyes as she beheld her sculpture.

“That’s lovely,” I said to her expectant smile, “it reminds me of my grand-daughter.  Want to see a photo?”

“Sure,” she said and looked over my shoulder.

We laughed.


“My love for her is Agape,” I said.

“Strong,” said my little friend as she waved good-bye.

Working with young people brings me joy in this unsteady and confusing world.

I am truly blessed to experience such innocent certainty in my daily work.


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