Beautiful child

At a recent meeting of educators, I heard a woman speak of her child’s transition to a new school. The child came home bubbling with excitement on Day One:

“Mom, my teacher looks like me!”

This is the first time her child ever had a teacher of the same race, the woman said. In fact, she went on to say, with quick finger quotes for emphasis, her child was “the only ‘beautiful’ child in the class last year.”

I understood what she meant: Her child was the only one of their race in that classroom.

I’m a mom. I know the protective, fiery love for one’s own, above all else. A proverb comes to mind: “There’s only one beautiful child in the world and every mother has it.” This mom didn’t say there’d been a problem at the previous school but as an educator I know that a sense of belonging and identity are vital to learning. I know that every school and classroom should strive to value, support, empower, and celebrate each child (as well as the adults). For that is how children learn to value, support, empower, and celebrate each other. That’s humanity at its best.

Which is why, as a human being hearing these words from another, a mother and educator, I came away with one heavy, lingering question:

Aren’t ALL children beautiful?

6 thoughts on “Beautiful child

  1. All children are beautiful. I am lucky to work in an international school where the definition of beauty is broad and inclusive.

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  2. Years of thinking about this leave me with the realization you describe- a child really can feel less-belonging even when the teacher is trying to love them all. It’s complicated. What to do? I think promote diverse communities with classrooms filled with diversity, as Terje notes. Including the teachers.

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  3. “a sense of belonging and identity are vital to learning” YES! Yes every child is beautiful – it’s hard as teachers to meet the needs of every child in every school (each school/class has their own makeup) but there is no doubt that if we each carry the belief that every child carries beauty and is beautiful then there is hope that each child will feel it! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a loaded question….Yes without a doubt all children are beautiful. Every child I have in my care is beautiful.

    It is hard for me to imagine never having been in a classroom where there was no one who looked like me. Wow. That stopped me in my tracks.

    Like

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