The proof is in the pudding. Literally.
J comes to school with armor. He defends himself from everyone – even people who are nice to him. If you are friendly, he gets angry. If you are serious, he laughs in your face. I don’t want to speculate about why he is this way, but I get the sense that he hasn’t gotten the carefree childhood he deserves.
Of course, in the middle of class when he’s yelling at another student, it’s hard to remember that he’s just a ten year old who’s been bruised by his past. He can be enraging. I knew from the moment I met J that it was going to take a lot of work to convince him that he could trust us. And it was going to take even more work to get him to follow our rules and routines.
So, when J gave me his chocolate pudding cup at lunch last Friday, I nearly cried. He slid it across the table without saying a word, and I was meant to understand that it was for me. Because J is not the kind of kid who gives you a hug and tells you he likes you. He simply slides the pudding cup over and then does something crazy like fall out of his chair to catch a renegade chicken nugget.
What did I do to earn this lovely present?
I gave him this piece of paper.
I don’t want to analyze this too much because I love that it is simple. Suffice it to say that in exchange for clear structure and guidance, you too can get yourself some chocolate pudding – the kind of chocolate pudding that is sweet and tasty and wrenches your heart right out of your chest.