Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pumpkin Funeral

My mom loves this story and I thought that I would share it. In 2001 I taught functional skills special education in Grand Prairie, TX. Most of my students had some form of mental retardation, but all could function.

When Halloween came around I thought that it would be great for the kids to get to carve pumpkins. Then the thought of knives and special ed students came to my instead I had the kids color the pumpkins with their design, and I did the carving....25 of them. I never knew carving pumpkins could wear a person out so much.

When all was said and done the PRIDE that the kids showed was amazing. They loved their pumpkins. Now this is where the story takes a twist. It was Friday and instead of taking their pumpkins home we left them in the classroom over the weekend so we could take a picture for the local paper on Monday.

My classroom had skylights and and with my poor judgment we put the pumpkins right under the skylights. That weekend the temperature soared to the 90's and when I arrived to school on Monday morning and went to open my door I could smell a foul odor. When I opened the door I almost passed out. The pumpkins had reduced to smoosh and the classroom was covered with gnats. The kids walked in and were devastated.

So what were we to do....well we had a pumpkin funeral. I played amazing grace over the computer and we all grabbed our pumpkins and started walking down the hall. At this time the kids were wailing and crying as they were going through the school, in a single file line, carrying a smooshed pumpkin(quite the sight). The principal looked at me like I was crazy...but I knew what to do next. As we were at the dumpster each kid got to say something about their pumpkin. It would usually go like this...

Student-(crying)"I love you were the best pumpkin that I have ever had." One by one they said their peace about their pumpkin and we went back to class.

So what is the point? It is this....we made an impact on these kids by doing something simple. Had they not cared about their pumpkins and the effort that they had put into them, then their reaction to their demise would have been different. We never know when those little things that we do will have a huge impact....DON'T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS!

Those kids loved those pumpkins....the were the best they ever had. Have a great day and keep it positive.


Marci said...

Loved your story. The smallest things are the ones we appreciate the most...not necissarily the big grandioso things. I can only imagine the kids walking down the hall crying and carrying the pumpkins.

Helen Keller said...

i can understand! i know the story was not really about the pumpkins but, i being a lover of the pumpkin would be so sad. (those that know me know i am obessed) yes, it is true, love them! we even grow our own here at our house in c-town. ha!
but, back to the reason for the post...i think i needed that... i need to recognize the small things are great!

Anonymous said...

That's the funniest thing I have ever heard...I have seen you around those type of kids, and you are awesome. You can always judge the character of a man by the way he treats people like that....(Cause we have all seen those kids treated differently than the way we would...and it is heartbreaking.) In high school I got to work with special olympics for two years...To this day it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done...I need to look into doing that some more....Thanks for the blog....keep it up


Really, really cool story!

Piper family said...

What an awesome idea! You are the king of motivation! Thanks for the uplifting story.