My student is trembling. The last thing in the world he wants to do is perform thirty seconds of his folktale for the entire class.
He takes a deep breath, begins to speak, then falters. He tries again, and then again. I tell him he can perform after the break and he rushes to sit down.
And then, during the break, the three young women who are sitting next to this kid begin to say, “I know you can do it,” and “You are strong enough,” and “I’ll stand next to you while you perform.”
Never met this shy, quiet kid before in their lives, but – “Let’s go in the hallway to practice.”
After the break, he stands up in front of the class, his brand new friend standing next to him. He takes a deep breath, begins to speak – and performs for the full thirty seconds.
And the class goes insane. Clapping, whooping, “WE KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!”
I say, “I am so proud of you,” and immediately ten other kids shout, “We are too!” The student looks at the floor and smiles a small, proud smile.
And the kindness in that room is so full and so deep that my heart is bursting with it.