Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
TITLE: Asia - A Memoir
By Karen Heslink
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There was the time she took the stapler off my desk, used it, and then put it inside the desk next to her. Later in the day when I was looking for my stapler, it was nowhere to be found. Then Asia piped up and said, “I see it in Harold’s desk.” Poor Herald. The look on his face was devastation itself. He looked at me with big, pleading eyes, and said, “But I didn’t take it. I don’t know how it got in my desk.”
“Well, it’s there isn’t it?” demanded Asia, “So you must have and you just don’t remember!” Now I had rules about taking things off my desk without asking first. So, poor Herald missed recess that day.
That aftenoon I found a note on my desk. Inside were a few short sentences that said, “Asia did it. Not Herald.” And it was signed The Classroom Detective. This wasn’t the first time I suspected Asia of playing tricks on the other children, especially the boys. During the next assignment, I pulled Asia to the back table and quietly showed her the note. She stared for a moment and as tears welled up in her eyes she simply stated, “I always get blamed for everything.” Knowing that she came from a family of seven children while I was the oldest of six, I was able to commiserate with her. I also knew that Asia needed to understand how her behavior would become who she was if she wasn't careful. We had a long talk that day.
As our conversation ended, I looked straight into her eyes and said, “I know Asia. It is hard to always be blamed for everything, but it is also very important to live life with integrity and honesty.” Now she understood honesty, but not integrity. So on that day, we not only had a life lesson, but also a vocabulary lesson.
Eventually, Asia owned up to the fact that she had taken the stapler and put it in Harold’s desk. She apologized to Harold and served out her week of missed recesses making a vocabulary card for each member of the class. The word she put on those cards: integrity
Just after graduation in June eight years later, I got an envelope in the mail. Inside was a very worn out card with the word integrity neatly printed on it. Written on the card were a few simple sentences, “Harold didn’t take it. Asia did. With thanks from you student.” It was signed simply “Asia”.
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