“I have a bruise here, Mrs. S. See? On my leg?”
“Good,” I replied.
And they all just laughed.
They’re used to me, that second grade class. If you put it together, I’ve taught them 15% of their second grade year. That’s a pretty sizable chunk!
Frequently in a hurry and flitting here and there, I’ve been known to be a bit klutzy. Add that to having fair skin and I frequently sport vivid green and purple splotches here and there. Those aren’t really the most productive of marks to bear– they’re more a sign of my impatient nature and determination to accomplish more than is humanly possible.
Bruises and scratches on the arms and legs of children, however… they usually make me grin.
[Obviously, I'm not speaking of serious injury or signs of abuse or neglect-- such things are entirely different and deserve very sober attention and intervention.]
No, I’m referring to the bumps and scrapes that come from having an active childhood.
Bramble snags. Gravel burns. Skinned knees. Bruised elbows and shins.
When I see children bearing the evidence of adventure and exploration, it makes me happy. Bruises and scratches earned from active discovery are nothing to worry or fret over. On the contrary, I view them as badges of accomplishment. I’d much rather see hands scraped raw from climbing a tree than calloused from holding a game controller.
And, so, the children have learned to show off their little scrapes and bruises to me.
“Look, Mrs. S! I got this hiking through some blackberry bushes!”
Because they know that, rather than, “Oh, you poor thing!”, they’ll hear, “Good for you! Tell me what you discovered.”
I’m a big fan of the bruised and scratched childhood.