little things

When I think about what my bosses notice me do at work, I’m never correct. Some of the biggest things I accomplish are not noticed by anyone. On the other hand, the smallest effort outside the box, everyone sees. Doesn’t that seem opposite of what life really is?

While my mornings are filled with my non-verbal kiddo, my afternoons are pleasantly occupied teaching reading in an older grade. Another aide and I share a group of four students in which we manage four reading rounds of 15-30 minutes. Every week we have a new book for guided reading. A few weeks ago it was about a penguin selling hot chocolate. With my not always wonderful habit of speaking before I think, I said: “We should have hot chocolate this week!”

The other aide looked at me, a bit perplexed while the kids cheered at the idea. I mean, we were reading about it all week, shouldn’t we have some? Of course, when I left the classroom, I immediately forgot.

I forgot the next week too.

I finally remembered on my day off, Friday. I was in town anyway and drove through at McDonald’s to get five small hot chocolates. I snuck in the back door of the school with a bag of tiny marshmallows and a tray of steaming drinks. I dropped them off in the quiet room where we study, with a quick warning to the aide I usually work with that they might still be hot in an hour.

“Aren’t you staying?” she asked.

I smiled at her, “Are you kidding? It’s my day off, I’m so outta here! Have fun!”

autumn autumn leaf autumn leaves chocolate
Photo by Brigitte Tohm on

I got a note the next week from our excited Special Ed Coordinator. She was thrilled that we thought to include drinking hot cocoa to go with the story. Turns out, one of our kiddo’s had never had it before. He loved it, of course. She said, “Now every time they read about Hot Chocolate they’ll taste it, maybe they’ll wonder if it had marshmallows, it opens windows in the mind.”

Here we are a couple of weeks later and our story is about a mouse who wants to touch the moon. It’s a no-brainer, I own the moon. A 3-D printed moon with all the cool features and lit from the inside by an LED, I mean, it’s really cool!


If you think the kids thought Hot Chocolate was cool, they went nuts for the moon

Of course, I wasn’t there because I’m not on Fridays, but it was another big win in reading. We have pictures of each of them holding the moon that we will print and send home with them.

I got an excited text from our coordinator, but really, it’s such a tiny thing. An afterthought is what it was.

All my energy and brain power is focused on propelling my Kindergartner into self-reliance and communication. I just show up to reading and read. It’s odd, isn’t it?

I don’t think we truly understand the power of tiny things. If we did, wouldn’t we fill the world with them? Wouldn’t we quit dreaming of being the hero and find so much more satisfaction in being water, in filling the cracks and gaps? Doing those things that don’t require any effort at all, or so it seems, could that change the world? Could I change the world with only my passion?

0 thoughts on “little things”

  1. It is like the difference between ordinary and extraordinary…just a little extra. Love how you brought the material to life and made it a more tangible experience for the students. To your larger point, you can and do change the world every day…one person at a time with your special touch.

    1. Michael, Michael, you have piled the homework on my desk this last weekend! Delightfully so.
      I think I worry that all my extra goes to the 9 to 5 and not enough into what I’m passionate about. That may be part of the reason I’m not where I’d like to be in writing. I love introducing reading to students but every day as I head into work I think about how the hours could be used differently if I could only be alone in my head for a while.
      Thank you for boosting me just enough I can gaze over the fence. I’ll get all the way over one of these soon days!

    1. I wish I could duplicate that result in my writing, day by day. In a way, I’m disappointed that I can stand out on this hand but struggle to sit and put words on the screen on the other. It frustrates me, being good at something I’m not passionate about, not as much as I would need to be to choose it. Does that make sense?

      1. Having read one of your books, I would say that you are good at what you are passionate about, even if you feel progress is slow sometimes. But also, it’s good to do well at whatever you try your hand at — and it must be gratifying to know that you are making a difference in those kids’ lives.

          1. I haven’t forgotten you!! I’m awaiting my second order of books, Kawaipuna Cottage. I made some corrections before ordering the printed versions. I’m not sure they’ll get here before Christmas but I haven’t forgotten!!

      1. It will come! I promise! Merry Christmas! I’ll say that phrase again I know, but you are one of my dearest friends here on WordPress. I have nothing but the highest hopes for you.

  2. Now that you put it that way, it is possible. You, me, everyone can change the world for the better a little at a time. Reading makes life better and sharing that with kids is like handing each one a bag of gold coins that will never run out.
    I do like the way you think CQ; your perspective on the cause and effect of what you do and have done. And that moon looks pretty darn cool, in real life, the kids must have been astounded. 🌝🌛🌜🌚

      1. Sorry, I’ve been out of town. ❄️ Yes, it is shocking how people undervalue reading. However, it is the foundation for just about everything we do in life and there is so much a person can’t do if they can’t read.📚

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