Lesson 68 on Caring
I was so lucky in the people I worked with. One of the best was an educational psychologist of remarkable and varied experience. She had started her career working with Anna Freud in Vienna amongst street children in the aftermath of the second World War.
She was analytical, perceptive and totally non-judgemental. She had seen the best and worst of humanity. One day I asked her why she felt some of our children survived while others simply turned their face to the wall and gave up. She thought a little before she replied.
“When I was in Vienna we worked with children who had been orphaned, displaced and left to fend for themselves. The ones who survived and went on to have settled adult lives were those who had formed themselves into family groups. They cared for each other. The most capable looked out for the weaker. From my experience I would say, having people to care for and people who care for you.”
I often thought of her when I was at Owen’s school.
One of Owen’s classmates was April. She was a slight little thing with fine blonde hair, who seemed to live in a perpetual dream. She seldom showed any disposition to work, so I spent quite a bit of time with her attempting by various means to persuade her that it was quite useful to learn to read.
One day we were talking about what we had for breakfast, (it might have been something to do with the Healthy Eating campaign). April brightened up.
” I had a lovely breakfast!” she offered her contribution to the group discussion.
” Really April? What made your breakfast special?” I was delighted. April rarely joined in with enthusiasm.
“We had apple crumble! With ice cream!” The others in the group expressed a mixture of disbelief and envy.
“Are you sure, April?” I enquired tentatively
” Oh yes! It was a treat! ” April stuck to her story with determination. “There was nothing else! It was all Arthur could find in the freezer. He put the apple crumble in the microwave. It was lovely!”
Arthur was her eleven year old brother, who brought her into the cloakroom every morning, helped her hang up her coat, gave her a kiss and told her to be good, before he hurried along to the Juniors.