Crown or Crayon?

Last week I had the opportunity to be mystery reader for my daughter’s kindergarten class. I brought a book I knew my daughter loved, knocked on the door and waited while listening to the teacher hype up the anticipated mystery reader. When she opened the door and I came in, my daughter’s face lite up and the other kids wiggled in their seats with excitement.

The role of mystery reader is pretty important, if you haven’t gathered already. Once a week an unknown mom or dad arrives to read to the class. Afterwards the kids draw a picture of their favorite part of the story. It’s very heart warming. But I didn’t leave feeling gooey. Instead, I left feeling humbled.

The name of the book I picked is called “The Day the Crayons Came Home.” It’s a story about crayons who get left behind, eaten, washed in with the laundry or some other sorted mess.

As I read the story, I noticed the kids were staring at me oddly. They didn’t seem to be laughing at all the right places as I assumed they would as my children had when I read it to them before. A couple of pages in, the teacher stopped me and said “Mrs. Sebaly, I think the kids are confused because we call them crayons not crowns.” It occurred to me at that point that my daughter’s kindergarten teacher was correcting my grammar and this group of five years olds didn’t understand me because they knew the proper pronunciation of the word crayon. That would have only been slightly humiliating if in a matter of seconds the teacher didn’t have to correct me again and then I had to correct myself two additional times after that.

Finally, I was done reading the book and instead of feeling up lifted by the experience I felt slightly embarrassed. Here I am an educated and accomplished women who can’t even pronounce the word crayon appropriately… and English is my first language!

Humbling experiences are such a great reminder that we are all human, no matter our title or position. We are all susceptible to mistakes, blunders, mishaps and failures. And yes, sometimes, even a kindergartener knows more than we do.

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