A group of children of mixed ages came into the gymnasium for A Touch of Understanding. One boy, who was bigger than the others, sat off to the side. The other children seemed to leave a space between themselves and Daniel (name changed).
The first portion of our presentation is open discussion about the fact that, whether society would label us disabled or not, we all have strengths and challenges. This breaks down the wall of “us” and “them” in the minds of the participants. The children begin to look inside themselves and realize that they have things in which they excel and things with which they struggle. Most importantly, they realize this is true for each of their peers as well.
I asked Daniel’s class, “What is hard for you? It might be here at school, at home, in your neighborhood, or just within yourself?” Children told of problems such as losing loved ones, academic difficulty, tense family and social relationships.
Daniel sat quietly until there was a pause, and he raised his hand. He simply said, “Fighting.” I asked if he got into lots of fights. He nodded.
Daniel’s teacher came up to me following the program and thanked me. She said it was the first time Daniel admitted he had a problem with fighting. She confided in me that it was a real problem for the teachers and students as well, which could be seen by the seating arrangements. Daniel’s behavior had ostracized him. His teacher felt that his admission during A Touch of Understanding was the first step in correcting the problem. and mending relationships.