Can I hug you ?

Last day at school, Claire was exited and emotional.

She has been only four months in this class but already developed a deep attachment to her teachers. I was there too, accompanying her and helping teachers to make party time. To my big surprise, all these 4 year-old kids knew much more than we thought. They even dealt better with important situations.

After handing out prizes to each child, Miss Robin proposed an cheerful applause. “Not yet, you should get a prize too,” one girl stood up.

“For what?” asked the teacher.

“For being the best teacher of the world !” shouted another girl before running to her arms.

Children followed this girl and hugged their teachers. Claire was the last one to repeat this symbol of love. Not only she was shy, but also she wasn’t comfortable with the hug, I thought.

I remembered her first day at school, with little knowledge of English. She was seated on her chair, her hands on her knees and didn’t move for a long time. Being disciplined in her former kindergarten, she believed that the classroom was serious and that teachers only loved those who could control their body. Day by day, she was surprised by the intimacy between kids and teachers, here, in this new city. In her kindergarten in Shanghai, story time was a serious moment for learning new words. But now, her classmates can even listen to story in teacher’s arms.

Last day’s story time, Claire spontaneously put her head on her teacher’s neck. I took a picture of this emotional scene. Later, I shared this pictures with our family members in China. Claire’s grandma texted me asking if her granddaughter was sick, because it was unusual to be hold by a teacher.

Even for me, hug somebody demands much courage and willingness. We are told to control our emotion and to be respectful. Sometimes, intimate gestures or words make us shy and uncomfortable.

Good job, Claire. She will never be a real American girl, but now she began to know how to expresses  her trust and love. She will never say as many sweat words as her classmates, but she knows that love can be expressed by many ways.

I shall hug her more often and tell her to hug me anytime she wants.

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