Recently, no day goes by with one not reading or hearing about the various forms of evil being meted out on people by their fellow human beings. I watched a movie once “Black beauty”, and in one of the scenes, a horse said “Human beings are wicked to animals but downright cruel to themselves” and this is right as evidenced by the gory stories we see on our TV sets, read in the newspapers, follow online or those brought to our attention by word of mouth. So, it is really a breath of fresh air when we hear stories of people whose empathy for others are still alive.
I like watching “The Ellen Degeneres show”. Ellen is an openly gay female, but this fact notwithstanding, her simplicity, kindness, generosity and peculiar sense of humor are some of the things that make me watch her show.
While watching it yesterday, she had this kindergarten teacher, Ms. Sonya, from New Mexico come share her story.
It so happens that most of the kids in her class come to school without having eaten anything from the previous evening and without having brushed their teeth. So, the first she does every morning before the start of class is to make sure they brush their teeth and eat breakfast. Having just a budget of $150 for a year, she ends up spending about $2400 of her own money to bring a semblance of normalcy to the lives of these kids.
Along the way, she even had to take in two foster kids who child protective services needed her to keep for 48 hours but those kids have been with her now for 6 months and counting. When asked, the biological son said he’s so proud of his mom and would have it no other way. Ellen had her on the show because for her exceptional gesture, Target wanted to present her and her school with a cheque of $10,000 each.
This story and those similar to it keeps my faith in people alive. This is someone who felt that her job as a teacher went beyond the recital of ABCs, she realized that it also stretched to the provision of a sense of belonging to her kids as she fondly calls them.
Watching the interview given by some of her students and her fellow teachers, it is easy to see how much lives she has touched in her own little way, how much hope she has given to these kids who circumstances has probably made to feel like they can’t make something of themselves and how much goodwill she has awaken in people. We too can borrow a page from her book and be the difference we want to see.