***If the download link isn't working, please, just right click on the word art and save it to your computer.***

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cards for Sebastian

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***Sebastian's surgery has been rescheduled for March 7, 2012***

***Sebastian's surgery has been postponed until March. As soon as I know the exact date, I will share it with you. I will save all the cards that we receive for his hospital room. To see a list of the cards received to date click here

Sebastian is a student in my class and his mother has given me permission to share some of his story with you.

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Sebastian was born with something called Arthrogryposis. It's a big word and an even bigger condition. I won't even try to pretend that I understand it fully. As a matter of fact, until the day I met Sebastian, I had never even heard of Arthrogryposis. Basically, it means that he has stiff joints and abnormally developed muscles. I don't know or understand why some children are born with this condition or why some are more seriously affected than others. I do know that Sebastian's arms, hands, legs and feet are affected by this condition.

I am his teacher and if I do my job with any measure of success he will leave my room a little wiser than he entered. The things I have taught him are considered valuable and useful. The lessons I have learned from him are priceless.

I have learned perseverance. Picking up a dropped pencil or paper isn't always easy when your fingers, hands and arms don't work the way they were meant to work. While it may not be easy, with a little effort and a lot of determination, it is not impossible. Nothing is impossible.

I have learned patience. It would be easy for me to simply "do" things for him so that I could move on to the next item on a checklist of things that must be accomplished everyday. However, the easiest thing isn't always the most honorable. Sometimes, no matter what anyone tells you, the lesson plans can wait.

I have learned perspective. The challenges I have faced in my entire lifetime are nothing compared to the ones he has faced or the challenges he will continue to face on a daily basis.

I have learned that screaming like a frightened little girl when I see him start to tumble and know that I can't catch him before the fall isn't the best reaction.

I have learned, that sometimes, letting him fall is the kindest thing I can do ~ literally and figuratively. It is the only way he can truly test himself. The only way for him to explore and expand his limitations.

I have learned the true meaning of courage. I have seen the scars that mark his little body. Scars from more surgeries than most people undergo in a lifetime. Scars that will be added to as he faces even more surgeries.

For the first time in my life, I have actually learned what the quote, 'You are as happy as you choose to be' really means. This little boy, who has every right to be angry at the world isn't angry at all. He has chosen to be happy and that happiness is contagious.

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He is loved, protected and happy. The world is his playground. While he will always be loved, he can not always be protected and sadly that means he may not always be happy.

Recently, his mother told me that she was out in town with Sebastian and for the first time she noticed other children pointing him out because of his differences. She cried because the thought of anyone looking at her child and not seeing the wonderful little man that she sees breaks her heart.

My heart breaks because I know that eventually Sebastian will notice the finger pointing. He will learn, at an early age, that people can be cruel. Whether it is a desperate need to feel better about themselves or for reasons that not even they understand, people will be cruel and Sebastian will be seen as an easy victim.

He will be judged and found unworthy by people who are not worthy of judging. People who don't know him and will never take the time to have a conversation with him. People who have never seen him walk with me to close the playground gate so that he can scare away any monsters or bad guys that may be lurking near by. People who don't know that his alter ego is Justin Bieber and he only goes by Sebastian when he doesn't want people to know that he's famous. People who have never seen him rush to the side of a classmate he believes is sad or hurt and heard him ask, "What's wrong, partner?" People who have never heard him answer their response with a determined, "I'm your friend." People who don't know that he loves the smell of his mommy's house. People who don't know that I have warned his mother, on more than one occasion, that he will probably be the president of his college fraternity someday. People who don't know that if he were Mario, he would save the princess everytime. People who weren't there to see the look of pride on his face when he walked across the swinging bridge on the playground for the first time. People who don't know that he wants to be Spiderman when he grows up. People who don't understand that what the world really needs is more Sebastians.

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I have come to you so many times in the past and asked for things that you have given openly and freely. Your response has always exceeded my expectations. Today, I am asking you for something that means more to me than anything I have asked before.

On February 15th, Sebastian will go into the hospital for another surgery. I would love to have his room filled with cards wishing him well and cheering him on. It would be wonderful for this little boy to feel the love that each card brings. (I know it will help to cheer up his mom too.)

Maybe, just maybe, when the day arrives that he notices the finger pointing and hears the name calling instead of being sad he'll remember the day that people from everywhere filled his hospital room with love.

If you can help out, please send a card to him.

If you're worried about your card arriving too soon or too late, feel free to mail it to me and I will make sure it gets taken to his hospital room.

c/o Ms. Brown's Class
Greynolds Park Elementary School
1536 NE 179 Street
North Miami Beach, FL 33162

***Since the surgery has been postponed until March, it will be best if future cards come to the school address. We are saving the cards and will decorate his hospital room with them.***
Thank you so much for helping. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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One day= Two laughs

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One of my students came in today and had the word "does" on his word ring. He didn't know the word and before he could complete his work he came to me and asked what the word was. Being the kind, wonderful teacher that I am I told him what the word was and even used it in a sentence for him...

ME: This is the word does. What does your father do?

He didn't get that I was just using the word for him and actually answered the question by saying...

"Nothing, my mom does everything." lol!

At the end of the day, I reminded the kids that we would be celebrating the 100th day on Thursday and told them not to be late for school. I told them that we would be going on a walk and taking 100 steps. I asked them to think about where our walk would take us and how far we would travel in our 100 steps. Everyone quietly stared at me except the same boy who had the word does on his word ring. He had no idea where our 100 steps would lead us, but he had lots of questions...

"What? How are we going to do this? What if we get tired? Are we allowed to rest? Can we bring water?"

To truly appreciate his questions, you have to read them out loud very quickly using the high squeaky voice that only a five year old boy can make.

He didn't seem to appreciate my laughter.


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