Archived Story

You never know until you try

Published 6:00am Saturday, March 2, 2013

Most people who know me know that I have a slight aversion to small children, so when I was asked this week to come to West Elementary and read to a kindergarten class as part of the Read Across America week, it should come as no surprise that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it.

But I agreed to go mainly because I would be getting to read a Dr. Seuss book and, even though I am 26 years old, Dr. Seuss is one of my very favorite authors.

When I got to the school on Tuesday, one class was getting up to leave and the poor kids who were going to have to endure my reading were filing through the door.

Now, I was expecting a group of kindergarteners to be bouncing off the walls, but these kids came quietly through the door and sat down in their designated spots on the rug in front of the rocking chair and then looked expectantly at me with a look that said “Who are you and why do you look so scared?”

The truth is, I was a little scared. Kids that age can be brutally honest, so if I did a terrible job reading the book to them, I felt pretty sure they would tell me about it.

Mrs. Rogers, the school librarian, introduced me and in unison they all replied, “Hi, Mrs. Kellie.”

I took my seat in the rocker and stared at them for a minute trying to decipher who the trouble makers were going to be and who wasn’t going to pay attention and who looked like they would make fun of me for reading them “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”

But they all sat smiling at me, waiting for me to get started, so that’s what I did – I got started.

As I started reading through the book, I started to relax and I actually started talking to the kids about what the book meant.

They “oohed” and “ahhed” at the whimsical pictures and talked to me about reading.

One sweet little girl sitting next to me actually started telling me how reading was an adventure, and I smiled so big and thought how awesome it was that this kindergarten kid was already interested in reading.

When we got done with the book, I found myself sad that it was over.

Mrs. Rogers got the kids to gather around me in the rocking chair and she snapped our picture and I found myself wanting to hug them all before I left, which is quite uncharacteristic for someone with such an aversion to small kids.

As I left I thought about what a good lesson that was for me that you don’t always know how something is going to turn out until you actually go and do it, and you don’t actually know if you’re going to like something until you try it.

So a big thanks to Mrs. Rogers for asking me to come read (and to Lesa Rickard for suggesting me) and a very big thanks to Mrs. Fleming’s class for being so well-behaved and sweet while I was there.

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