Clara walked onto the stage and took the microphone in hand. She glanced at her first grade teacher in the wings. The mike clunked, and scratched as it brushed up against her purple, pleated skirt.
“Smile” chirped her teacher and gestured for her to hold the mike to her mouth.
The pianist played the intro to Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Getting To Know You”, but Clara’s vocal cue was met with silence. The lyrics escaped her. She stood motionless.
Seven hundred students, teachers and parents filled the gymnasium. There was no snickering, eye rolling, or elbowing from her fellow students. They supported her with smiles and unwavering attention.
Her teacher came onstage. She got on one knee and put her arm around Clara. “Would you like to try it again next week?” Clara stood in the spotlight, white knuckles wrapped around the microphone and nodded.
Then, as if on cue, the student body yelled out “THAT’S O-KAY” and cheered for little Clara.
My son sat criss-cross on the floor clapping and looking around the room. He was learning, thanks to Clara, about success and the balance needed to realize it.
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