As the calendar turns to August, the trees and grass and flowers have begun to look a little tired. Advertising turns from summer fun equipment to Back-to-School sales. Harried moms begin to look hopeful and kids are either excited or sad, depending on how they feel about school. I was always one of the excited ones because I liked school. I also loved summer vacation, but by August I was ready to return to a familiar routine. I liked the new clothes and shoes that back to school time brought, but I was also excited to get new school supplies. One of my favorite things was a new box of crayons. I can still remember begging and pleading for the biggest box of crayons available. When I opened my new box of crayons, all sorts of possibilities loomed------beautiful works of art (although I was never really blessed with artistic talent); graphs to color for math or science projects; maps to mark with separate colors for each country in geography class. The crayons were somehow symbolic of all there was to learn that year.
I recently opened a box of crayons as I was going through some items that were donated to my program. I learned that the smell of those sticks of color can still send me back to that place of the promise of a good year ahead. Will the child that gets those crayons be excited and hopeful and eager to learn? Will he or she have people in his life to help him achieve those things? Will the school year hold opportunities to create art and learn about our world? As I sort through those donations, I pray the simple box of crayons will hold magic for that child as well.
I noticed something else as I studied that box of crayons. All of them stood sharp and tall and neat, not caring who---or what color---was next to them. White was next to pink, black and brown. Blue was surrounded by a myriad of colors, as were all the rest. They rest in the box in perfect harmony. All the colors are necessary to make a beautiful picture, to create a map or scientific graph. Humans could learn a lot of valuable lessons from a box of crayons. We are all necessary to create the world we live in. We may look different on the outside, but on the inside we are all the same. When we learn to coexist peacefully in spite of our differences------when we appreciate the different things each of us bring to the big picture----when we learn each of us is equally important to the world we live in----we will be on our way to being as beautiful and harmonious as the box of crayons. Opportunity and promise will lay in front of us as it did in the eyes of that schoolgirl in all those Augusts years ago.
Shelby County Domestic Violence Coordinator