Saturday, October 15, 2016

Not Someone to Drive By

Asalamu Alaykom,

This week, there was a problem inside one of my classrooms.  Kids!  They don't always do the right thing.  Except, there was one boy who stood there trying to stop the melee.  He was the only one.  For his effort, I gave him the certificate for "Student of the Week" the following day on Thursday.

For all my students, I had them write in their journals for five minutes about how a friend has helped them.  It related to our problem the day before and to the story we were reading that day.

Then,  I told them that since they had gotten to tell a story, that I got to tell them a story too.  I told them this.

It happened way back when my oldest kids were little---my big son was in pre-k and my daughter was only a year old.  It was a cold November morning in the Midwest; the first really chilly morning and there was a mist in the air that was almost turning into a rain.  Everyone had their headlights turned on along one of the main arteries that ran through a residential area.  That's when I saw the boy.

The boy was as old as my youngest son is now.  He was a middle school student, but he wasn't ready for school, or for the weather.  He was standing there, on the sidewalk in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.  I wondered why.

The light changed and I kept on rushing to drop off my boy at the nursery school.  I was a busy mom and had things to do---like everybody.  On the way back, he was still standing there, so I pulled over.

I got out of the car, leaving my baby in her carseat.  "Are you OK?  Do you need some help?"

"My aunt locked me out," he told me.

She wasn't home and he didn't know when she'd be coming back.  He only knew she was mad and he was being punished by being left standing out in the cold without the right clothes.  I then realized that he didn't have any shoes on either.

I offered to take him to our house.  What I didn't say to the kids is that this was me before I took shahaddah.  My beliefs of doing for others---especially for children---have always been a part of me.

I took him home, had him wash his feet in warm water, and gave him some slip-on tennies.  I donated a sweatshirt from my then-husband's closet.  I made some waffles, since he hadn't eaten.  We sat there; me, my baby girl and this boy trying to warm up.

I called his school and notified them of his whereabouts.  They arranged for the aunt to give me a call.  I brought him home.  I didn't tell the kids how I sat with the exasperated aunt and explained that I didn't want any problem to separate the two of them again.  Having worked in an emergency shelter before, I knew that removing children from a family's care happens all too often.

The point of the story is not that I helped.  The point is that so many didn't.  Between the time I saw the boy and the time I came back was twenty minutes.  No one else stopped in that time.  No one.

I asked the class to decide who they want to be:  the one who helps or the one who drives on past?  I once again thanked the boy I'd awarded for being someone who helps.

A hand raised up.  Another boy wanted to know if I had ever seen that boy again.  I was going to answer that I hadn't, but then  a thought occurred to me.

"I don't know!  He would be close to thirty years old now so maybe I have actually seen him, but not even realized it was him.  Maybe he is a dad himself now!  What I hope, when I think of him or anyone else that I've ever helped over the years is that he is OK now.  I can send some good thoughts or a kind of prayer that he's doing well.  If he ever remembers that day that he stood out in the cold, then I'm glad that he can also remember that someone cared and didn't just drive past."


Anonymous said...

As salaamu alaikum!

Such a touching reminder, mashaAllah. At first I was getting it confused with when you spotted that running boy who escaped from the shelter and ended up taking him to the school play. Then I realized, no, this is a different boy and different encounter, but the same good woman, driven by the same altruistic sense to do good.

I really hope your kids glean something front that account, and don't dismiss is readily. I know with teaching, it can be difficult when we try and impart ethics, morals or values, but even if your story resonated with one, then that's a start! And every time they act on that goodness and that good sunnah which you've instilled within them, then you'll reap ajr!

Now, back to March 2012, and making mental parallels to where I was at in life whilst you meandered (more or less) about in Egypt :)


Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Mostly Anonymous Halimah,

Ya, there were two different boys. One white and one black. In my mind, I see them as two, but of course in the blog they mesh together as a kind of Jungian archtype.

I am the same person :) Helping children has been my pull to do a lot of crazy things that I wouldn't do for an adult---or even for myself. I have had to let go of some of that pull. I would go insane in Egypt if I let it hook me each and every time---especially in the family house I live in.

Yet, I am a teacher :) I do my own special rescuing now and "yes" I hope that I will receive some rewards in the grave (that may very well rescue me later).

Love and Light!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God I almost died I can't believe you tweeted about The Trews being back!! I BINGED on the Trews while overseas, I can't even begin to tell you the extent of my obsession at that time! He truly gave a voice to EVERY thought I ever possessed... albeit in a much, much more humorous and intelligent way

Halimah :)

Anonymous said...

And here I was fangirling it up back when you had KOL's "on call" posted and Keane 's "somewhere only we know"! Trews took it to a whole new level LOL


Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom,

Great minds think alike and social media puts us all together.

I wish Russell Brand would do a daily show---I'd watch!

As for my song a oh-so conservative and proper Muslimah...whatever. I'm not at the point in my life where I am without music. It might not be ever. I do, however, read lyrics now and outlaw negative stuff as going against our goals.

There is definitely more music throughout the blog.

Love and Light!

Shafaq said...

Assalamu alaykum Yosra,

Oh Yosra, love and light to you, always!

I just hope and pray that we all can help others in our own small ways, whenever we can. And Allah Subhaneh blesses us with the tawfeeq and a gentle, kind and compassionate heart to do so and that too without prejudice. Ameen