Just a Small Moment

I could easily have missed it.

I happened to glance over amidst the hubbub of snow gear removal after recess. M, a whirling dervish of a second grader, was kneeling before D, who sat in a chair. It may have been the circle of stillness around them that caught my eye. To be clear, M isn’t well-known for consistently making well-considered choices, so I definitely wanted to take a closer look.

What was going on? I wondered.

I walked across the room, watching as M’s hand reached out. He grasped the rear collar of D’s shoe and pulled it back. D simultaneously pushed to slip his foot into the shoe. D had arrived at school that day delighted with his new pair of adaptive shoes. The most recent new pair had been difficult to get on with a too-tight fit. These had laces and a velcro strap rather than zippers, and appeared much easier to manage. Apparently, M had decided to give him a hand.

It struck me that I had never really seen M and D interact much before. They certainly got along, but didn’t partner up much and certainly didn’t “hang out.” But there they were.

As I watched, M sat down on the floor, picked up D’s shoelaces, and got to work. I moved over to check in with D. about something else. We talked for a minute or two. As our conversation ended, M still sat on the floor, working intently.

Suddenly he shrugged and dropped the laces, abandoning the job. He looked up.

“I can’t really tie shoes,” he admitted to D, “that’s why I don’t have the tying kind of shoe.”

“That’s ok, “D said. “It’s nice that you tried. Thanks!”

M got up and whirled away.

It was such a small moment, but it’s lingered with me.

And to think, I could easily have missed it.

17 thoughts on “Just a Small Moment

  1. humbleswede says:

    I’m glad you didn’t miss it or miss the opportunity to write about it. So many different bits to this. The helpful gesture, the sitting at a classmate’s feet, the attempt at something he “couldn’t do”, the shoulder shrug, the “whirling” away. This is a throwaway rescued from oblivion. Glad you took that closer look.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    Not only did you notice the moment, you wrote about it and in so doing, honored it for its tenderness. Boy, we need more of this kind of noticing and noting in our schools.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you captured the moment to change the way M is perceived…No longer can he be thought of only as not “well-known for consistently making well-considered choices”. Thanks for sharing this sweet moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maryleehahn says:

    What a moment…and multiply that by all the ones that are missed…this is a clarion call to look more closely, to see and name all the kindnesses in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It’s wonderful when you see such a moment–kids helping each other, hugging each other, reaching out and caring. I think I need to write about the Kindness Club that sprung out of a recent class discussion…


  5. Judith Mansour says:

    Beautiful moment that you were meant to see.


  6. How heartwarming that M tried! Even though he didn’t succeed in tying the shoes, he sure left an impression of caring. I’m glad you saw it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you captured it in writing.

    BTW: I laughed when I read “M isn’t well-known for consistently making well-considered choices.” What a great way to spin his ill-considered choices in a positive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tabatha says:


    Liked by 1 person

  9. amyilene says:

    The magic is in the small moments and you captured it perfectly, in all the simplicity.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sweetness! Glad your classroom has time for such moments. Nice going, teach!


  11. PS Hannah and I have grandson, Owen, who lives such sweetness.


  12. Fran Haley says:

    I think your post is a great illustration of living the writerly life, Molly – the fine-tuned noticings, the antennae always out, the receptors instantaneously processing into “why?” – or maybe it’s evidence of the teacherly life! There are many common characteristics, just sayin’. Glad this interaction between the students was positive. We need so many more of those stories.


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