Thursday, June 9, 2011

RainbowsWithinReach Redo

So let's start all over. Rewind. Start at the beginning. The very beginning. Where did the name, "Rainbows Within Reach" originate? What's the back story? [Insert mellow instrumental music backdrop. Cue to camera three. Action.]

Back when I was a freshman at Wittenberg University, I like many others was taking an intro Ed Psych class where one of our requirements was to make a series of classroom observations. I remember carpooling in my mini-skirt, with a pack of fellow adult teenagers to a kindergarten classroom. With clipboard in hand, I sat on the perimeter of the action, as instructed, and watched the morning's activities unfold.

It would have been the fall of 1975 (talk about the DeLorean time-machine.) A lifetime ago. I remember like yesterday observing the interactions of those little wonders. There were building block centers and writing tables not too unlike classrooms I visit these days making an author visit. Yet, in the midst of all of that bee hive of activity, I was struck that morning by one little lone fellow who seemed particularly quiet. He seemed without friends. The other children easily visited with one another, babbling happy kindergarten chatter and he stood hanging his head alone. I took notes on his behavior. His lack of inter-action. His minimal conversation. His continual habit of looking at his shoes when someone came near. He had captured my heart.

As the other children grouped and regrouped he was always left to himself. As each chunk of minutes passed I wanted more & more to reach out to him. Even then I suppose I was something of a champion for the under-dog. But I was also one to follow rules and we'd been instructed not to interact -- only to observe. I may have let slip out a wink or possibly two in his general direction.

Before long the morning was concluding. Children were preparing for dismissal. Our carpoolers were gathering personal paraphenalia to depart. As I crossed the room, little-loner-boy came directly to me and looking me in the eye whispered, "Did you see the rainbow?" I was quite started to learn that he could speak, much less that he had addressed me personally. My mind quickly reeled through responses to his simple question and I settled on honesty. "No, I didn't see it."

He persisted, a little bolder, "Did you see the rainbow?" He was tugging at my sleeve, as I was attempting to be kind yet catch my ride back to campus. "No, honey I didn't see the rainbow."

After several more rounds he became quite insistent. He took my hand and gruffly pulled me over to the classroom aquarium and pointed. "Do you see it now? Do you see the rainbow?" Try as I might peering down from above, seeing the top of the little porcelein castle, I continued with my honesty approach. "No. No, I don't see a rainbow."

By this point he was getting more desperate in his whispers and he croaked out, "THERE! Look right there!!! And then he pulled me down so sharply I was on my knees, when he squared up my face on an even parallel with his. I'd gone from being startled to being genuinely knocked off balance.

Suddenly my eyes gazed into the aqarium at the exact eye level as my young guide, and there, right EXACTLY where he had been pointing, there was a rainbow. HIS rainbow! A complete and absolute prism of colors, RIGHT THERE. From his perspective the entire aquarium was ablaze with color. Right there within reach, within reach all along. It was at that moment that my face lit up and he knew that I was seeing it. I was seeing the splendor. He had forced me to look at the world from his angle and he knew that I'd finally gotten it. The light bulb went off.

The rainbow had been there all along. It had been within reach. It just took a diligent and passionate observer to share his treasured perspective with me. It was on that morning that I was hooked. It was on that morning that I pledged to look at the world from his perspective whenever possible. To this day I think of the amazing lesson I learned in kindergarten that morning.

It was at that moment, while my peers were cavorting in the parking lot, in that brief few tidbits when time was suspended, that I vowed that I would do my best, my very best to remain on the eye level of those I'd interact with, in order that I could see from their perspective, in order that we might share the rainbows within reach.

And as has been said before...... now you know the rest of the story.

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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