Friday, February 17, 2017

Gift for America




A GIFT FOR AMERICA

“Good  Morning, Christopher!” the tutor in a Catholic school said.
Christopher was a new student, six years old, in First Grade. He needed help with English, his second language. This was his first meeting with the tutor.
Christopher didn’t answer the tutor. He looked unhappy.
The tutor greeted him in Spanish.  .
When he still didn’t answer, the teacher asked if something was the matter.
“Don’t you feel well?  Are you sick?  Does something hurt?” She asked in English and in Spanish.
Christopher’s bottom lip trembled. He tried hard to hold back the tears.
At last, the words burst out.
 “The teacher screamed at me because I can’t read,” he said. The teacher was not his regular teacher, but a  substitute who came occasionally.
Now, the new tutor promised she would never scream at him. Together they did the lesson. He seemed happier when she took him back to his classroom.
Each day, Christopher and the new tutor met. His English improved rapidly.
Then, one day, Christopher, didn’t seem to want to begin the class. He looked pensive.
The tutor asked, “Is something the matter?”
Christopher struggled to say  all the words correctly.  “You know that teacher who yelled at me? She doesn’t yell anymore, because I can read. I asked jesus to help me, and he did!”
As the tutor got to know Christopher, she came to love him. He was such a thoughtful six year old. 
One day, Christopher came to the class with a puzzled look on his little face. He had just come from Religion Class.  He looked up at the tutor and asked, “What was before God?”
The tutor tried to answer, but she was amazed at the profound question six-year-old Christopher asked.
When she got home that night, she had supper with her family.
She told them about Christopher and his question. 
Her husband said,  “How fortunate we are that so many people from other countries come to America. Christopher is a gift. If he can ask questions like this at six, imagine what he will contribute to our country as he learns more and more.
“We have a deep thinker in this little child. We need to give thanks to God that he has led him here.” 
The tutor’s children bowed their heads as their father and mother prayed and gave thanks for Christopher and the gifts immigrants bring to America.
Then, they played a game to see who could name famous immigrants who have been gifts to America. 

They named scientists, doctors, statespersons and many others.  Can you name some?


A FEW FAMOUS IMMIGRANTS
Leoh Ming Pei: architect of East Wing of National Gallery, Washinton DC
Madeline Albright, Secretary of State
Albert Einstein,  Physicist
John Muir,  Naturalist
Joseph Pulitzer,  newspaper publisher

Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice


©photo & story Elizabeth V Roach 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What Peace Looks Like


The following story was first published in The Maryknoll Classroom Program, a service for teachers. Programs for K-12 are available free to teachers who request them from Maryknoll Magazine. www.Maryknoll.org
  
 What Peace Looks Like
      Aron was taking turns with other children jumping over a large water jug. He was having fun, but missed the toys he had left back home especially his green bike.

     Aron and his family had left their home in Syria about a year ago, when he was 7. A war had started there, and his parents and grandparents decided it was not safe to stay. They could bring only the most important things. It was a long trip before they could stop. And they stopped here at a refugee camp. Now they lived in a tent, among hundreds of other tents and people. They had all left their homes because of the war. They were waiting to find out when they could leave the camp and where they could go.

     "Here comes the art lady!" shouted Aron's sister Estes.  She was pointing to Sister Rosemarie.
Sister Rosemarie took the children to another part of the camp.

     Soon they reached the art group. The children were all from Syria. The adults were from different countries, Canada, Poland and the United States.

     "We are a peace team," Sister Rosemarie explained. "All around the world, people are looking for peace. What does peace look like to you?"

     "Peace looks like me sitting with my family, all together,"  said Este.

     "Peace is being safe with no tanks and no rockets!" said Muhammad.

     Reza said, "Peace is playing outside by my home."

     Pile added, "And going to school!"

     "Peace means flowers and birds," Miriam said. "And trees, I miss trees."

     Aron looked around. There were so many tents, but he could see no trees.

     "Aron?" asked Sister Rosemarie. "Do you have a picture of peace?"

     "Riding my green bike, and going fast and laughing--and not feeling afraid at all!" he said.

      Sister Rosemarie smiled. "These are wonderful ideas,: she said. "Now let's all draw these pictures of peace."

     Muhammad painted circles and lines in yellows, oranges, and blues, colors that made him happy.

     Miriam drew trees, flowers and birds.

     Pile and Reza drew a school with children playing outside
     Este painted lots of people holding hands.

     Aron couldn't draw a bike, so he took the green paint, the color of his bike, and made big swoops of green.

     Every one shared ideas and became friends 'they wee happy because they were thinking about making peace.