I work at a library. Yeah, that’s how I’m gonna start this. No cheesy hook or important quote? Wow, living on the edge. I don’t need those things to tell this story. If I embellished and made a perfect little universe for my story to revolve around it wouldn’t be half as good.
It happened at a library.
It was mid-September, cold for a Georgia day, and all I wanted to do was go back to the warmth of summer. The library wasn’t busy, which was shocking because it was a Saturday, but I was feeling tedious because there was absolutely nothing to do. Usually, I can find or come up with projects on a Saturday, but my options had been blown through completely.
I was sitting at the front desk, waiting for someone, anyone, to ask me a question, when three teenagers passed by. The older looking one said, “God, I wish that kid would stop he’s so annoying.” The others agreed, and they walked out of the library, unaware that I had overheard their conversation.
Naturally I began listening for the sound of an annoying, loud, or crude high school student, who I could easily speak to and ask to be a little quieter, but, after searching the library, all I heard was the peaceful sound of a little boy, no more than four years old, vocalizing. He was sitting in the children’s section playing with puppets on a red bench, minding his own business and bothering absolutely nobody.
The child brought a smile to my face, and I went back to the desk, confident he was just fine hanging out with the puppets and books. A few minutes later, a mom brought in a large stack of children’s books. I was overjoyed because it meant I could shelf the books and have something to do for a bit. I took the books over to the children’s section but was stopped before I could get the first book on the shelf.
The little boy was standing on the floor singing “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana to the puppets in his hands.
It was the most beautiful cover of the song that I had ever heard. The child had perfect pitch and had memorized the entire song by heart. I set the books down and listened. A few seconds later he noticed me and walked over.
“Hi,” He said.
“Hi,” I knelt down, “My name is Alyssa. I’m a librarian here.”
“Yeah, I know,” He replied.
Part of my job is to make sure children in the library have parents or older siblings with them, so we know they’re safe.
“Does your family come here a lot?” I asked.
“Yeah,” He said.
“Are they here today?”
He pointed to the computers, which are located right beside the children’s section, and told me his mom was the lady in the red shirt. Once I verified, he had a parent, I picked up my books and began shelving.
“Do you like to sing?”
He nodded, “Yeah but no one wants to ever sing with me.”
“Oh,” I said, “Well… what songs do you like?”
“Moana songs because they’re nice.”
I set my books down, “Well, I’d love to sing with you.”
So, we did. That little boy and I sang “How Far I’ll Go” at the top of our lungs in the middle of the library. Around the middle of the song, we had collected an audience, that included his mother, but no one complained or told us to quiet down. In fact, like me, they were amazed by the little boy’s musical abilities. At one point during the song, he began harmonizing so effortlessly, it brought tears to my eyes.
Okay cool, so you sang with a kid in the library big whoop.
What’s the point?
The point is, that kid’s mother came up to me after the song and said, “Thank you. He doesn’t have anyone to encourage him like that.”
(Whoa there, Sis Lyss, where are you going with this? Is this about you?)
It broke my heart when that boy’s mom told me that. For years I’ve watched and listened to adults and teens belittle and kick down children for being “different” or “annoying.” Parents try to step in and fill the gap, but when you’re a single parent or a busy parent, sometimes it can be hard to encourage yourself much less your child.
To my parents who feel like they’re not doing enough for their kid: You are. Don’t let the world or negative people break you. Your kid deserves you.
I would rather your child sing at the top of his lungs in the middle of a library than be shunned for his talent by his/her peers, get sucked into the addiction of video games, or think they’re not good enough to succeed in life.
It’s our job to stand up for the next generation.
It’s our job to throw away our pride and focus on teaching and encouraging the next generation.
The main problem in this world today is the fact everyone wants to care for themselves. This is not a-holier-than-thou fact because I’ve been prideful and forgotten how important the net generation is.
It’s our job to make them feel loved.
It’s our job to train them to use their gifts.
Whenever a child or a student tells me they feel like they see the world differently, I immediately stop to listen. Not because what they’re saying is coming from a heart of pride, but they’re coming from a spirit of confusion. When they see joy and happiness in everything, why can’t everyone else? When they connect emotionally to other people, to a point where they hurt when someone else is feeling pain, they are frightened because they think their minds are wired the wrong way.
They’re not wrong.
Their minds are wholly created and beautifully unique. In my opinion, the mind of a child compares to that of an angel. Innocent, creative, and magical.
I’ve spent the last five years desiring to write a blog. For five years I’ve debated my audience, my words, and what others might think. What if they judged the fact that I care about the emotions of our youth? What if they thought I was wrong because I “didn’t have enough experience?” What if they thought what I have to say is wild and too different to be true?
Today I say “Who cares.”
Who cares what others think? My heart’s desires and burdens are to share the knowledge I have about human emotion and the minds of children with others around me. My brain is wired to connect with kids of all ages. I love getting on their level, being entirely too goofy with them, and sometimes making a fool of myself standing in the gap for them when no one else will.
On this blog, you will find topics of all sorts, but within each post, pieces of my life will influence what I write.
My name is Alyssa Roberson, and I am a children’s writer, friend, and advocate.
Welcome to Rolling with a Roberson.