If we don't hear them, we can't heal them.
If we don't reach them, we can't teach them.
If they don't know we are there, how will they know we care?
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.16(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Manassas, Please Slow Down
By Judith Glenn
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Judith Glenn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneManassas is in the third grade. He eats breakfast and lunch with his third grade class. He eats too fast spilling most of his food on his shirt, the table, and the floor. He sits in a classroom of third graders, but Manassas is not like the other third grade boys and girls.
Manassas buys supplies from the school office just as the other students do. He just can't seem to wait his turn in line, so he pushes and shoves and skips to get to the front.
"Manassas, will you please slow down." The lady in the office instructs.
One day while trying to wait his turn in the supply line, Manassas wanders off into the principal's office. He glances around the room at all of the plaques and pictures hanging from the wall. He reads the gold nameplate on the desk and is mesmerized by the shiny letters so he picks it up. Mr. Thornbuckle's office, the children know, is off limits. But Manassas must have forgotten about that as he busies himself by touching everything on the desk. When he is caught leaning in the principals chair, he has to spend a day in detention.
Manassas hates detention!
At lunch the students punch their number into an electronic keypad and listen to the greeting that follows.
"Good morning," the machine speaks to them at breakfast and "good afternoon," it speaks to them at lunchtime.
Manassas doesn't bother to remember his lunch number. Ms. San, the nice lady at the register, has to look it up and punch it in every single time.
"Ok, Manassas", Ms. San says to him with a big smile. "This is the umpteenth time I've given you this number. You must remember it", she tells him handing it to him on a strip of paper. Just like every other day, he sticks the strip of paper in his pocket, and looses it by the time school is over.
Manassas' teacher, Mr. Tangy, works very hard to help Manassas get along with the students in his class. He moves him to the front but Manassas wont sit still. Instead, he taps his pencil on his shoe. He taps his pencil on the floor. Manassas even taps his pencil on his desk breaking the lead, which drives Mr. Tangy crazy!
Mr. Tangy moves him to the back of the room. Manassas tries to rescue his pencil when it lands under Twilla's desk. He finds other things under there that everybody has forgotten about. He finds a wad of bubblegum with a broken pencil stuck to it; he even finds shiny stickers plastered to the undersides and the legs of her desk.
"Mr. Tangy, Manassas is under my desk again!" Twilla yells pointing at him. The rest of the class just snicker and laugh at Manassas.
Finally, Mr. Tangy gives Manassas preferential seating right next to the teacher's desk. During math class, all the other students listen as Mr. Tangy lectures about geometric shapes. Not Manassas. He occupies himself with tracing things from Mr. Tangy's desk that resemble the shapes on the blackboard.
"Manassas," Mr. Tangy cringes while trying to keep his composure. "If you don't stop disrupting class, I will have to put you out!"
On library day, Manassas lines up with his class to check out books. He twirls, bounces, and stumbles around until the librarian notices him.
"Manassas, you have to sit at the red table," Mrs. Cole, the librarian, reminds him. The red table is for students who fail to return their library books. Manassas somehow always misplaces the books he checks out. He lumbers over to the small table that sits in the far corner of the library, picks up a book and begins to read.
Manassas becomes fidgety. So he reaches in his pocket and pulls out his pencil with the Sponge Bob eraser and begins doodling on a piece of paper that was left on the table. He becomes so involved with his drawing that he continues drawing over the entire table. He creates a detailed scene of the cartoon he watched Saturday at his Uncle Calvin's house. He even includes the background and foreground that his art teacher demonstrated in class.
Manassas escapes to the world he had drawn on the table. He has forgotten about library time. He has forgotten about Mrs. Cole. As a matter of fact, he has even forgotten about his classmates. He doesn't miss not being able to check out books. And when his class lines up, they forget about Manassas, too.
Mrs. Cole walks the class out of the library and down the hall. She is suddenly called to a meeting and forgets to check for stragglers. There Manassas sits drawing, and drawing, and drawing.
He moves to the table in the front of the library and then to the side of the shelves. He keeps on drawing the rest of the morning and into lunchtime. It has been so quiet in class that the students forget about him. Even Mr. Tangy enjoys the peace and quiet and he forgets about Manassas too.
Finally Mrs. Cole walks back into the library. When she sees Manassas' artwork covering every square inch of the tables, shelves, and walls her eyes bulge, her face turns red and her mouth falls open as wide as the lunch plate she holds in her hand.
"MANASSAS!" she yells heading straight for her desk. "I'm going to write you up for destruction of property, and whatever else I can think of. You have ruined the library's furniture!" She screams.
Mrs. Cole escorts Manassas to the principal's office. When Mr. Thornbuckle sees them coming, he hesitates then nervously asks, "What's happened this time?"
Manassas shrugs his shoulders and puts his head down.
"Ill tell you what's happened, alright". Mrs. Cole begins to explain, "Manassas has damaged the furniture in the library, all of it!"
Mr. Thornbuckle raises an eyebrow, "Lets take a look", he says, heading for the door leading from his office.
The three of them, Mr. Thornbuckle, Mrs. Cole, and Manassas, walk down the hall towards the library. Students in the hall stop and stare at the boy who walks with the principal.
"That's the boy who got in trouble for pushing in the breakfast line," a girl states pointing.
"He got detention for painting on the walls in art class," a boy whispers to his friends as they watch the procession down the hall.
Mrs. Cole is at her wits ends. She walks into the library door fussing about what Manassas has done to her furniture. Manassas, confused by her response, stood there quite proud of his labor. All of a sudden, Mr. Thornbuckle holds up his hand bringing Mrs. Cole to a halt. He stands with his head scanning from side to side surveying the library.
He turns and looks at Manassas, then back at the wall. Mr. Thornbuckle looks from the walls to Manassas for a couple of minutes until finally he asks, "Son, did you do this?"
Manassas holds his head down staring at his shoes shaking his head he softly answers, "Yes sir."
Much to Mrs. Cole's surprise and greatly to Manassas' surprise Mr. Thornbuckle does something anyone hardly ever sees him do. There, standing in the middle of the Stanfield Elementary School library, Mr. Thornbuckle shows a glimmer of a smile.
"This is spectacular, simply amazing!" Mr. Thornbuckle remarks. "This reminds me of my days at the art institute. Before I became a principal over a decade and a half ago, I studied art. I even studied abroad and won prizes for my creations. Your work is fascinating!" Mr. Thornbuckle concludes.
Mr. Thornbuckle calls a meeting with the counselor, the art teacher, Mr. Tangy and Manassas' parents. They all sit down and discuss ways to help Manassas work to his full potential. They talk about his talents and his strengths. They even talk about his weaknesses and ways to strengthen them. All of this attention makes Manassas feel quite special.
Manassas' parents take him to see his doctor. Dr. Ford examines Manassas and gives him a clean bill of health and a sticker that reads "I'm a healthy kid!" He suggests they visit a psychologist, Dr. Sams.
Dr. Sams talks to Manassas and asks him a lot of questions marking Manassas' responses in a tablet. Dr. Sams gives Manassas' parents questionnaires for Mr. Tangy, the counselor, and the art teacher to complete and return to his office.
The counselor meets with Manassas once a week. They discuss ways to help Manassas pay attention, concentrate on his work, and slow down to think about what he is doing. Manassas feels better inside and out.
Mr. Tangy gives Manassas shorter assignments and he completes them all! As a reward, Manassas is invited to help paint a mural outside the art room.
Everyone is happier: the students in the lunchroom, the students in the supply line, Mr. Tangy and Mrs. Cole. Manassas is especially excited about going to school every day. His parents put a card on the refrigerator with the letters U-N-I-Q-U-E. They explain to Manassas that it means we are all different and have very special talents and gifts. Manassas is very happy!
My inspiration for writing this book is my son Brandon. He is very talented musically and in many other areas. When he was in elementary school, he could pick up the violin and play a tune after only hearing it one time. He went on to become a very gifted trombone player in high school and college.
I taught him to cook at a very young age and he became quite good at it. Homemade cornbread, baked turkey and pound cake are his specialties. Besides being a good cook, Brandon is very active and creative with how he spends his free time.
I recall one fond memory from when he was still in elementary school. Things were quiet around the house, which usually meant something secretive was going on. I called out to Brandon, "What are you doing?"
I went to the bathroom connected to his room and found him with my new white towel lying on the floor. Lined up very neatly on the towel were tools and pipes from the bathroom sink covered in black grease and dirt. He looked up at me with a smile on his face that displayed his pleasure in what he'd accomplished. He explained that the water was draining out slowly and he knew it must be clogged.
"I figured I would just clean it out and save you the money of paying a plumber".
I couldn't argue with his logic. Although I was very upset as my mind tried to disconnect from the thought that he used my brand new white towel for the job.
That day I learned a very valuable lesson from my son- look at the heart. We are all full of gifts and talents and sometimes we have to look at the heart to see them. Brandon has a huge heart and loves helping and encouraging others whenever possible. His diagnosis of ADHD interfered with his relationship with his teachers, his siblings, his classmates and friends.
As an educator, I am encouraging others to embrace diversity, accentuate the positive and to learn to look at the heart. We are all unique and have some redemptive qualities with which we can compliment so many different situations.
Brandon is a very strong young man who continues to overcome negative situations and in the process teaches others to do the same. Judith Glenn, Author
Excerpted from Manassas, Please Slow Down by Judith Glenn Copyright © 2010 by Judith Glenn. Excerpted by permission.
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