(By Kaely Orr)
Hanna is a 7 year old ball of energy, laughter, and sass. She’s precious, adorable, and hilarious, and I look forward to seeing her along with the rest of my class every morning.
During lunch break one day, she jumped up to me and gave me a huge hug. “Kaely!!” she screamed.
I hugged her back and said, “Hi beautiful!”
She glanced up at me and turned her head to the side. She had a confused look on her face. After a moment, she said, “No… YOU beautiful.”
I couldn’t believe how confused she looked. “You’re beautiful too! All of these girls are beautiful,” I said waving my hand at the other students listening to our conversation. “Every girl is beautiful!”
Hanna looked up at me, then looked around at the other girls. She flashed a huge smile and gave me another huge hug.
Every day since then, Hanna tells me, “You beautiful!” Then she hangs on to my hand, smiles, and waits for my words back to her — “You’re beautiful!”
I could never have imagined that telling a 7 year old she was beautiful would be so powerful.
As I reflect on my own childhood, I realize that I can remember every life giving word a teacher spoke to me as a kid. Now, I’m the teacher. I give those words. And I hope that Hanna will never forget the simple words, “You’re beautiful,” no matter who tries to convince her otherwise.