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What Would Happen?

August 2, 2010

I cried over this today:

It is an excerpt from The Help by Kathryn Stockett. In this scene Aibileen is watching over Mae Mobley, the baby girl she is raising for a white family in Jackson, Mississippi. Of the 17 children she’s raised for other families, she’s especially smitten with Mae Mobley.

She [Mae] say, “Mae Mo bad.”
The way she say it, like it’s a fact, make my insides hurt.
“May Mobley,” I say cause I got a notion to try something.  “You a smart girl?”
She just look at me, like she don’t know.
“You a smart girl,” I say again.
She say, “Mae Mo smart.”
I say, “You a kind little girl?”She just look at me. She two years. She don’t know what she is yet. I say, “You a kind girl,” and she nod, repeat it back to me. . .  That’s when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?

I read this in tears because 1) I am overwhelmed at the sweetness and tenderness of Aibileen 2) I am in awe over her unwillingness to let anything less than love define Mae Mobley’s identity and 3) I am reminded  that THIS is the job of anyone in children’s lives.

Can you imagine what would happen if we told our students they were “something good every day”?

Who are we that we hold the possibility of redemption in our words?



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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 11:19 pm

    love. this.

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