Fine tuning… our first MORE GOOD entry!

A story played in the key of kindness strikes a fine chord with Kristine Grant

Kristine Grant recalls an up-right act of kindness

Literati

When Kristine Grant heard of Mary Latham’s fabulous project “More Good,” she quickly penned this recollection. Kristine is a sometime visitor to the Towers, and, in fact, judged the Valentine’s day contest we held a few years ago. She is a well-respected marriage and family therapist and later this month will be publishing her book Relationshift:® the Right Words for what you Really Want to Say, which I had the pleasure of editing.  She is also the published author of an anti-bullying workbook, Be Friendship Focused, which is referenced in her cathartic contest entry.  More on Kristine later, but first, MORE GOOD!  our first entry in “One-of-a-Kindness.”

Fine Tuning

by Kristine Grant

One day, I met with  four 10-year-old boys to begin our first Be Friendship Focused group session. These boys were selected to participate in this group process in order to upgrade their socialization skills.  Each of these youngsters was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a mild neurological disorder on the Autism Spectrum.  They displayed as awkward or socially challenged; staff and students alike were annoyed  by what they perceived as weird or  strange habits or behaviors. Sadly, they were often rejected for no other reason than being demonstrably different from their peers.

I began our first session with a simple inquiry, which experience had taught me encourages children to share what they like about themselves:  “Why would anyone want to be your friend?”

Jeffrey, a pudgy youngster with thick glasses responded, “Well, because I can play the piano.”

The boy sitting next to him, thin and missing a front tooth remarked, “And, I can play the flute!”

The student next to him chimed in, “Oh, I play the guitar.”

And, surprisingly, the last student gleefully spouted out, “Oh yeah?  I have a drum set at home, and I will be a professional drummer when I grow up!”

I was certainly impressed by their shared interest for playing music and and quite naturally suggested they create their own band. At that instant, Jeffrey enthusiastically yelled out, “I can also sing!” and  immediately burst into a Bruno Mars’ song, When I was your man.  Without any hesitation the other three boys sang along with an impromptu, and, I might add, delightful harmony.   It was wonderful!  A moment that I will never forget.   I applauded their innovative, creative, and quite amazing song recital; that’s when Jeffrey piped in, “Ms. Grant, meet me in the Multi Purpose Room at 2:37 today!”  (School let out at 2:35).

“Why?  What for?”

“Please, just be there!”

And so it was.  I entered the Multi Purpose Room at the appointed time.   Suddenly, the door at the back of the room burst open and Jeffrey quickly strode toward the stage, where a grand piano stood covered in cloth.  He briskly removed the skirt from the piano, immediately sat down, and without even a greeting, just began playing beautiful classical music.  He did not rely on any sheet music to follow. I was honored by this young boy’s natural, and brilliant performance.  After about 15 minutes of this delightful concert, Jeffrey stopped playing, stood up, bowed his head and just said “Thank you, Ms. Grant,” before covering the piano with the cloth and running out the door.

It was days like these … when I was able to bear witness to the universal truth that each of us yearns to feel appreciated, acknowledged, to share what is in our heart, and ultimately desire to somehow connect, that I take the greatest pleasure in my work.  Through his fearless artistry for music and song, Jeffrey shared his talent with me and influenced the BFF group to also connect under the same platform.  I was so impressed with his performance that I immediately headed over to the principal’s office.  The school principal, Mr. Green, was well liked and respected, and had a genuine interest in helping his students succeed.  After I recounted the story of the initial BFF group session and how each member shared a common interest in music, I told Mr Green about the amazing private concert I had just witnessed in the Multi Purpose Room.  As I shared this, Mr. Green sat there thoughtfully behind his desk and stroked his chin.  Then he asked, “Was Jeffrey really that good?”

“Oh yes!”

Then, after a long pause, Mr. Green said, “Hmmm … I know who that boy is.  In fact, I have met with his mother a few times… He was really that good?” he repeated. I nodded affirmatively. I could see him fine tuning his thoughts. “They are quite poor.  His mother is a single mom.  I know she really struggles. … Okay, I am going to do it!”

“Do what?” I was quite puzzled by his remarks.    It was then that he emphatically announced that he was going to give Jeffrey his own piano!  In fact, he made plans to have it delivered to Jeffrey’s home the following weekend.

This most generous gift, prompted only by hearing about the boy playing piano and singing, truly made my day!  I was told later that both Jeffrey and his mother were exceedingly pleased.  Needless to say, Jeffrey was shouting and singing with glee.

***

Will you be my friend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find Kristine at http://www.inspiredheartletters.com/

 

11 comments

    • Avatar

      Hi Miryam,
      Thank you so much. Truth be known, I have so many endearing stories working with children of all ages throughout the nearly 20 years I served as a school psychologist.

  1. Avatar

    As a story, this is solid and sweet. My heart melts at the kindness. I also like the way you wrote about the boys in the first paragraph, allowing the reading to add nuance to each character you wrote while at the same time giving borders to the imagination. So very sweet.

    • Avatar

      Hi Miryam,
      Thank you so much. Truth be known, I have so many endearing stories working with children of all ages throughout the nearly 20 years I served as a school psychologist.

      • Avatar
        Miryam says:

        You and I probably saw a lot of the same youth… I worked for Juvenile Court for several years… finally retired from that line of work, but have many stories… I held the literal key of discipline when behavior had turned bad, but I learned quickly that unless I could love those kids, I had no business working with them! There are so many challenges on the road to adulthood, and I don’t think we ever grow up totally! I hope to read many more of your stories Kristine.

  2. Stefanie Allison

    Some people are proposing that what we believe to be “disabilities” are really just variations of human talent and abilities. We miss enough from each other when we’re in the mainstream…how much more do we miss in classes like these? So lovely to hear from you Kristine <3

  3. Avatar
    Mike Casper says:

    We all have talents that lie untapped. Glad you and your school admin were able to recognize and encourage those kids. Nice story. Ps. I play the harmonica…

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