Climate Changers 4

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
 ~Leo Buscaglia

I was in the seventh grade when my parents were introduced and subsequently introduced me to the works of Leo Buscaglia. And I couldn't get enough. Oh, he was so energizing because his passion was so extreme. He loved large and he wasn't afraid to let the world know. 
Sometimes that's all a child needs. 
And the more they're loved, the more capacity they have to love. I'm sure of it, and today's Climate Changer is my proof.

Her name is Allison. I first met Allie when she was a toddler, two or three years old, and we hired her mom to come work at our school. At first, I wasn't sure we'd be friends because I remember it taking her some time to warm up to me, to trust. 
But once we connected, we connected big!

My daughter would babysit for her on occasion, always at our place, then my sons once Kaitlyn got too busy. And even though we were the ones who were providing the babysitting service, the more time we spent with this little angel, the more time we wanted with her. Because we knew that there was something really special about this curious, caring, courageous and cute little friend. There wasn't anything she wouldn't try ... except for swimming. The first two summers we had our pool, there was no way she was going in that water ... not at all at first ... then not without her mom ... then for sure not without her floaties. And nothing we would say or do was going to change her mind. Believe me, Joshua tried. He just knew that there was a swimmer inside this timid angelfish and he invested a lot of time and energy proving himself right. We gave it our best shot, but she clung to the side and watched as two summers went by. 

The third summer all of that had changed. She came back a new girl. She'd grown up and she was ready to take on the world ... and our pool. In fact, she was so independent, like a butterfly who'd spread her wings and was flying solo. I'll never forget Joshua's forlorn look and tone when he exclaimed: 
I kind of want the old Alison back!  

And though I miss those days when little Allie Cat would come to play, I am happy to report that our beautiful butterfly is soaring. Earlier this week, my character cam caught her accompanying her friend Cole to class. The other things I observed as I watched her were that she was greeting our special-needs bus riders as they arrived, that she gave two raffle tickets to a friend who she was sure wouldn't get any, and that she was getting a breakfast tray for a child in her mom's class who needed assistance, all of which she was doing because she saw a need and wanted to help. Independently.
On her own.
Paying it forward.

Rooms get brighter when Alison arrives. She's joyful, optimistic, loving and kind. And she's an equal-opportunity friend to everyone who's lucky enough to cross her path. Because, like a young Mother Teresa, 
this Climate Changer cares deeply and loves unconditionally.

I vividly remember a girl named Alice from when I first started teaching at Friendswood High School, before I even had children. She impressed me so much that I phoned her mom to say that I hope that one day I'll have a daughter who's just like Alice. Now I'm hopeful that one day I'll have a granddaughter just like Allison.

Thank you, Allie, for being a Climate Changer
at our school and in my corner of the world. 

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