The Power of a Smile
Patrick was a 6-year-old white kid, who lived in the inner city — possibly the red light district — he walked to school, where I was a student teacher.
It was a rough school in a rough neighborhood. The kids were full of energy and life. About 700 students filled five classrooms at each grade level from 4 years old (pre-Kindergarten) through 10 years old (5th grade). In that group of students, only 10 kids were Caucasian. The rest of the school was African American. Of those 10 Caucasian kids, 9 of them got beat up or hassled daily. Not Patrick.
I was working on my honors thesis. So I did a histogram. Patrick turned to be the most admired — academically and socially — among his classmates. He was the one they would all ask to a party. He was the would all ask for help with their homework.
What was it about Patrick? Patrick had something special. Everyone liked him.
It was his way of being. It was his attitude about life and himself. It was his charming, disarming smile, that said, “What? Pick on me? I’m a little kid, only six years old. You must be kidding!” Everyone liked Patrick. It was impossible not to.
He soothed the savaged beasts and charmed all of the teachers.
He was bright love and sunshine in the inner city. I smile to remember him.
He was only six years old then, but Patrick is still a role model for me.
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss