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When children are asking for love

By Don Schmitz

Dapper Dan was a first grade student in my classroom. Unfortunately, he represents many children and grandchildren today who are asking for our love. In my twenty years of teaching, there is no child who challenged me more than Dapper Dan. He also is the child I remember the most from my twenty years of teaching.

I will never forget my first week in the classroom with Dapper Dan. He was a skinny small boy with a gorgeous smile. His smile however was displayed far too infrequently. He came from a broken home and craved love and attention.

The day this was most apparent was the day Dan decided that he was not going to go to lunch with the other children. He had latched onto his desk with his head inside and he wouldn't let go. What was I to do? The only option I could think of was to carry Dan, his chair and his desk down to the Principal's office while we went to lunch.

I remember feeling like a mother duck as I carried Dan, his chair and his desk and was followed by twenty-five little first graders through the secretary's office and into Principal Kovatch's office. Five minutes later, Dan came walking into the cafeteria with the Mr. Kovatch wearing a big smile on his face.

Dan continued to be the most difficult child I ever taught and demanded constant attention throughout the year, but from that day on, I always knew when I could get Dan to smile his gorgeous smile, everything was right with the world.

Many years later, Dan came back to visit me at school. He was dressed in his U. S. Navy uniform wearing his beautiful smiles. I asked Dan to speak to the students and his smile and his uniform immediately captured their attention. He told them how much Mr. Schmitz had meant to him and how much I had positively affected his life.

It was the best thank you I have ever received.

About the Author

Don Schmitz is a popular speaker and writer on parenting and grandparenting. He is the author of The New Face of Grandparenting "Why Parents Need Their Own Parents and founder of Grandkidsandme, which includes: Grandparent Camps and Grandkid Days. Don holds graduate degrees in Education, Administration, Human Development and father to three sons and seven grandchildren. Contact Don


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