In June, after Jake’s graduation from elementary school the entire 5th grade class migrated from the school grounds to have a celebratory lunch together at a Public Park five blocks away. Lisa and I drove.
It was a beautiful early summer day. Car windows were finally down. At a stoplight we saw the Special Ed kids from the 5th grade class waiting to cross. A boy blankly look over at us. My eyes locked with his. I awkwardly filled the space “I’m Jake’s Dad. Do you know him?” Suddenly the kid’s face lit up. “Jake! He is my best friend. My name is Jorge. Jake is great!” The light turned. The kids were led across the roadway.
Later at the Park, I noticed Jorge and the other Special Education kids were off to the side. The 5th grade kids were buzzing to get their year books signed. I grabbed some lunch. I turned back and found Jake sitting next to Jorge. As I walked up I heard Jake ask Jorge to sign his year book.
Jake had never mentioned Jorge. I was moved by Jorge’s sweet response to Jake and Jake’s tender interaction with Jorge. I asked one of the administrators about their relationship. Apparently, early in the school year, Jake without any prodding made a point to include Jorge in kick ball. This went on all year. He made sure that Jorge had a chance to play with the other kids at recess. It was a transformative event for Jorge.
I thought I knew everything about my son. I asked Jake about it. His response was so pure “Jorge is a good guy. I saw him sitting alone one day at recess and I got him to play kick ball with us. You know what? He is such a good player Dad.” Can you say Peace Corp.