She Was A Happy Girl

When our daughter Katie was in fourth grade she was put into a Gifted program which was housed in a different school from our neighborhood school. After a few months in this program we started noticing some troubling patterns and angry outbursts from her. She did not want to go to school and wasn’t interested in doing any homework. She finally opened up to us and told us about her experiences on the playground from the other “gifted” kids. We decided the best thing to do was to pull her out of the program and try to repair the damage by homeschooling her. This was one of our best parenting decisions and moves. When we told her teacher and the administration we were pulling her out they were shocked and told us we were making a mistake. They felt this program was giving Katie some options she wouldn’t get in a regular classroom or at home. We just smiled and walked away. We home schooled for 4th, 5th and 6th grade and then Katie decided she’d like to try public school again entering junior high/7th grade. This is something I wrote in 1996 after hearing how Katie was treated and after watching how she was shunned at the school bus stop.

She Was a Happy Girl

She was gentle and kind
She liked to pretend and giggle and dream
Her dreams became playground games
She pranced and danced and was a tree fairy
Her imagination smiled inside her head
She was a happy girl

Other children on the playground couldn’t figure her out
She wasn’t like them
She was different in their eyes
Because of her uncommon ways they began to taunt her

She became the playground plague
She was called the germ
No one should touch the germ
or play with the germ
because they would become a germ, too.

She was a happy girl
but their thoughts and their actions
turned her into a sad and angry girl
She couldn’t understand and couldn’t change
what the playground had made her

She was a happy girl

I’m happy and thankful to God that Katie thrived being home schooled and when she re-entered the public school system she continued to do well. She enjoyed drama and art and had some great teachers who recognized her talents and abilities. She made some good friendships along the way at school and at church. She had very impressive SAT scores. She also was a National Merit Scholar. She completed college and now is standing by her husband as he completes his college degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He had a late start because of serving as a U.S. Marine. She still doesn’t fit in anyone’s mold. She is uniquely Katie. That’s one of the trees on one of her elementary playgrounds that she pretended she was a fairy in.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

I found this as we sorted through lots and lots of paperwork and decided to put it on my blog as a reminder of how far we have come and how we were carried through by God’s love and grace in difficult times. There are some other things I might share from time to time. Peace be with you and yours.

14 thoughts on “She Was A Happy Girl

  1. Such a sad chapter in Katie’s life and your family’s life. It is amazing how cruel children can be towards one another . . . more evidence of our sin nature. How blessed Katie is that you were a purposeful parent and turned the page right then and opened a new chapter!! Do you ever think how different things could be if you hadn’t heeded that nudge from the Lord?

    Thanks for sharing this. It is good to look back and see what God has done!

  2. Hello, what a great post and story on your daughter. I think you made a great decision by removing your daughter from the school and the bullies. Your daughter is beautiful. I love the photos! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

  3. I am sorry that Katie went through that, but so happy that she came through it well with God’s help and discerning, wise parents.

  4. Thank you for sharing your poem, Ellen, I am so glad Katie could tell you what was happening so that you could help change the course. As parents we appreciate teachers who understand our children and recognize their stengths. I know this to not always be the case but am thankful for the times it was true. I’m thankdful for how Katie could continue with her studies and do well.
    I’m sure that as an adult now, she is able to use this experience for good toward others. May God bless her.

  5. You were very wise to take action quickly. I was a very skinny child and was teased terribly. I remained bashful and introverted until I was about 30. So thankful that the Lord blessed you and Katie!

  6. I am so thankful that you saw what was going on and got her out of such a toxic situation. I learned long ago that it is okay to be different and I love the sound of your daughter and those photos of her. Our son is like that too and I couldn’t be more proud of him as you are of your daughter. I have very bad memories of being bullied at school, and the teachers did little to help, even though they saw what was going on. I never told my parents. My acting out was to go inside myself so that I was considered a very quiet child and I was not a good student as I couldn’t wait to get out of school. Glad that period of my life is over and whenever I hear about bullying it saddens me greatly even now.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I’m glad your daughter lived through those school years and is doing well now. My daughter was told that her daughter could move to a gifted program but after much prayer and consideration, she decided against it. After reading your post, I’m glad she did.

  8. A sad a touching story…with a happy ending. She is blessed to have had wise parents! Our eldest son was in a gifted program as well…and we were not so sure it was a good thing. After three years, he chose to return to the regular classroom in his own neighborhood. A good choice too.

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