A lot of my friends and family are in the school system. Mostly teachers, here and then I help translating a paper, a note, a report card, I interpret on parent-teacher conference and things like that. (If you are reading this and need help with translating or interpreting let me know, I'd love to help you)
Yesterday, as I help in one of those conference I was with a Father of 4 children, who lost his wife (they were separated) this past January. I remember meeting with her when the first nine weeks were over, she was so strong, so potent, so driven by the future of her children and she was very clear to let her kids know if they ever had a question they needed to ask. They did not need to sit quiet in their sit just because they were afraid to say the wrong thing or not sure how to ask. Ever since I learned this lady passed away I can't forget that meeting (I don't want to forget that meeting). Seeing the father of this children, really trying to make things better for them has got me thinking. Having that puzzled look on his face while I try my best to explain to him how in 3rd grade his daughter will be graded on letters instead of number or just passing or failing. Or what the "rubric" for the next nine weeks will be. Or the word map his daughter need to filled up in order to write a story. I'm sure it really sounded foreign to him even though I was speaking Spanish to him.
But what strike me the most about this meeting was the time when we handed him the report card, so he could read the comment on the back that her teacher has written so sweetly about his daughter. It hit me then he either needed some glasses because he couldn't see the small handwriting or he actually did not know how to read. So I gave him his pen and told him where to sign his name, he asked me twice where to sign and then he said "You know, we barely made school, it's hard for me to even write my own name" I confirmed then he couldn't read the note, so I told him writing his first name was good enough and then I told him "Let me read this to you because is a really sweet note about your daughter and you will be proud". His face lighted up and so I read.
I have not been able to stop thinking about this. How hard he's trying to make the best for his children. How God's timing in all this is amazing. This man started the process to get his parents here 5 years ago, only a few months ago things went through and his parents are suppose to be here now, now that he needs them the most, now that the mother of his 4 children is gone forever, now that he's trying to take care of them, work, help them with school even though he can't read is own language.
In my own country I know people who can't read and write, they are very old but they are the sweetest God's children I know. My great aunt, which if I ever have a daughter she'd be name after, is one of them. She managed to give her 5 kids some kind of education, they all went to school. They all have their families. Their kids went to school as well but most importantly, all of them know about God because of her. Thinking of this on my way to work, I realized, she probably has never read the bible but I know she's a prayer warrior. She wakes up early in the morning and sits in her bed and prays. She goes to sleep and the last thing she does when her day is over is pray again. :)
So back to this father. How can he learn English when he can't even read Spanish?. However that's not stopping him from trying his best to give his children a better future. He asked us what he needed to do to make sure his oldest daughter is enrolled in Middle School where she's attending next year, he also asked us how could he help his little daughter do better in her writing, that was her weakest area. I mean ... nothing is stopping him from trying harder. (see what I posted before this one?)
A while back when we met with him to see how thing were going right after the mother of his children died - he said the pastor of his church offered to give his little daughter a haircut (let me tell you it looked good, that pastor knew what he was doing). Can you imagine being in 2nd grade and loosing your mom like that? (Or Kindergarten, or 4th grade or 5th grade - that is the grade where her other children are) She went to Mexico to see if she could get better (last time she did that it really helped her) and then after a couple of weeks you find out she's dead??? I CAN'T ... not at that age. When you are a child ... when you are starting to have so many questions about life, about being a girl, about everything. WOW ... I CAN NOT IMAGINE. But that's life, we loose our love ones, we are sent to foreign land to grow family, we are strike by sweet people who crosses our paths daily.
Let's never be too busy not to take the time to think about all this. To Thank God for what we have (our capabilities), what we are and who we are becoming as we grow older.