Saturday, March 10, 2007

Begging for attention and anything else that's needed..

This lazy Saturday morning, my sweet dog, Cayenne, is repeatedly bumping her nose into my hand, asking for.. no demanding.. what it is she needs. She won't give up until I pet her head and rub her belly.

You have to respect this kind of unabashed neediness. If we all were as honest about what would make us happy, the world would be a less complicated place, that's for sure.

I'm thinking about my students' behaviors over the years, and how tough it's been to wade through all the distractors to get to the real issue: "How will you meet my needs, Mrs. Ris?"

For many of my kids, it's a matter of providing immediate basic needs. Here's a juice box and breakfast bar to get you through the morning. You were up late because of your family's partying and fighting? Take a little nap in the bean bag and I'll catch you up on your lessons later. Need a clean t-shirt? Let's check the extra clothes bag.

Sometimes we can't even begin to give kids what they crave. In a six hour day I can't hug a kid enough to make a difference... although we all try. We can't makeup for a home life of humiliation and threats. And when a child's brain chemistry is off, all we can do is be as structured and consistent as possible, and pray the meds will work.

We plan our lessons with attention and detail; we overplan and, as necessary, change up our plans on the fly to meet new roadblocks. It's complicated and draining to be so focused on doing what is right.

So this morning, when Cayenne looks so lovingly my way and keeps nuzzling my hand, I'll thank goodness for her uncomplicated, honest "begging". It feels good to satisfy her needs so easily.

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