Sunday, December 13, 2009

I think of him...often...

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Shame on you all for thinking that I was thinking about something that wasn't purely innocent.

I'm going to tell you the story of a little boy named Malik who was bad as molasses but stole my heart completely!

When I was the principal's secretary at an elementary school, I met many kids who made my life rich and full. Some didn't have to try hard...they immediately had me wrapped around their little fingers.

Such was the case of Malik. Our first meeting wasn't a pleasant one. He was sent to the principal's office because he had kicked the teacher. He was told to sit in my office and to think about his consequences while the principal attempted to get a hold of his dad and the school police. Malik was 6 years old, Black and hair in cornrows. There was something about his sullen demeanor, his lip poked out and his glare, cutting right into me. I glared back, not even blinking.

I asked why he kicked the teacher and he refused to answer me. He was a good glarer though and I knew that to win the glare contest, I couldn't let him see me sweat. Finally, I relented and asked him if he was thinking about why he did what he did. He was silent and then looked down, then scowled at me and mumbled, "I don't like da teacher. She's mean to me."

It seems that Malik was sorta a problem child at the elementary school and not many teachers were willing to have him in their classroom. He was abandoned by his mom, raised by an older and abusive dad and wore the same dirty clothes and matted hair every day. He was a smart kid who loved to toy with me and see how he could get me to break. I refused. I realized that he didn't know what a Black mom was like. All he had seen was a mean, non-approachable dad. So, I set out to talk to him. To hear him out. The many times he came into the office, he was carried in, struggling. Other times, he literally ran for freedom and jumped the chain link fence and went running across a busy street. Yet, there was something about Malik that made me understand him. He was like a scared little boy, wanting someone to love him and to love in return.

One of his punishments for an offense (he had many) was to come into the office and to help me during recess. When his punishment was over, he continued to come into my office, to sit and sort through my paper clips and sharpen my pencils. He talked to me. The ice began to melt. He told me about his dad...not having a mom...all the while, still sullen with others that tried to talk to him.

The last time I saw Malik was when he was carried into the office for swinging his backpack at one of the teachers. He was being carried by two people as he struggled. Left in alone in the principal's office for one moment, he acted out of rage and picked up chairs and threw them, then swept papers off the desk and went straight for the principal's computer monitor. I opened the door and literally yelled, "You better put that chair down if you know what's good for you. You know better acting like this. You better straighten up or else." While I gave him "the look" he froze in midair and then put the chair down. He sat down quietly. I wanted to hug him. I knew that he just needed to know that he was going to be okay. Instead, a week later, after he was suspended, he was the very first 6 year old to ever be expelled from an elementary school in the area.

I was angry. If I had been asked, I would've told them that he had made great strides. That he was beginning to smile. That he even laughed with me and looked forward to eating lunch in my office. He wasn't a bad kid...he was a very smart kid that just needed a little love (like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree).

I never saw Malik again yet, it's been four years and I can't help but think of him and pray that he is safe, happy and most of all, loved.


Buckeroomama said...

I hope he is safe... and somehow knows that he is loved by someone, that someone actually will make the time and effort to show him some love and attention. It is too sad to see so much anger in someone so young...

Mari said...

I pray that there is someone like you still in his life. Every child deserves to feel loved, and to have someone that they want to please.

blueviolet said...

Sounds like he really had a tough life and was acting out at school, which may have been a safer place to act out than his own home was.

I'm glad that you showed him he was worthy of love. Hopefully somehow that will help him in his life.

Veronica Lee said...

I'm glad to know that there is someone like you still in his life.

God Bless you, Simone!!

Menopausal New Mom said...

What a lovely story but I had so hoped for a happy ending. Such a terrible loss, his mom and to be left in the care of a dad who doesn't care. No wonder he was acting up, sometimes children don't understand the difference between bad attention and good attention, they just want attention, any kind.

Nezzy said...

Most children who act out are screaming for help. I'm so glad your recognized that and let him know that someone cared. God bless your sweet Simone.

Ina in Alaska said...

What a sad story. An angry unhappy little soul in need of much needed love and attention. I send out best wishes to Malik, wherever he may be. xoxo

Deidra said...

You were not put in his life by accident, my friend. I'm sure he treasures the time he had with you. I'll be praying for him and for all of the other children like him today.

Saranne said...

Oh Simone, this just made my heart ache for that little boy. Thank God he had you, even if for just a little while....we may never know how our simple acts of love and caring affect others and make a difference in their lives. I pray that he has been able to hold on and to remember the time that he had with you and that someone DID care about him. Your story just confirms my passion for children, and my decision to become a teacher. Thanks so much for sharing! oxox

My name is PJ. said...

When I read your posts, I feel like I know you, really know you. You're a expert at sharing.

I'm so thankful you had time with Malik. He WILL remember what 'good' feels like and that will be because of you.

It's gotta be difficult, when you're dealing with a young kid in trouble and circumstances cut your time short. Prayer helps. So does remembering that you only have to do your part. God does the rest.

Lisa E said...

I agree with many who have posted. Malik was blessed to have met you and you were blessed to see into his heart. My path has crossed with many people who have enriched me. You are one of those people. Thank you for taking the time to care.

Heart2Heart said...


Some where in this world there sits a boy named Malik that fondly remembers the secretary at his elementary school that showed him what real love looked like and still believed in him when all the others didn't. He still carries that love in his heart today!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

sherry ♥ lee said...

Oh Simone. This just breaks my heart...and yet, at the same time, it shows love and compassion and how those who slip through the cracks just need that one person, that one chance to make a difference.

I believe that you did make that difference in this young boy's life. You may not see right now what is happening but I hope and I pray that the love you gave him, and the guidance he needed as well, has stayed with him in his heart.

You are one very special lady.

Anita said...

Years from now, he may be telling someone about you. :)
I hope and pray that he "makes" it.

ethelmaepotter! said...

What a touching story; my heart goes out malik, wherever he may be.
My daughter is a first grade teacher and sees these "broken" children every day. In her class of sixteen this year, three are homeless! One actually STABBED a little girl in the back with a pencil, sending her to the emergency room; another comes in with new bruises every week. Repeated calls and investigations by Children's Services have proven fruitless.
How many Malik's are out there?

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.


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