Hello. My name is Shmuly. I am three-and-a-half. The oldest
in my family is Moishy, then comes Rochel, then me and then
the baby, Chani. I already have a yarmulka and
tzitzis and payos just like Moishy and Tatty. I
love my Tatty and Mommy. My Tatty plays with me when he is
home and loves to test me on the alef-beis. I already
know up till yud. My Mommy takes good care of me and
she gives me star stickers when I do something that makes her
A month ago we moved to a new neighborhood and I started
going to a new gan. I go every day and when Mommy asks
me if I had a good time, I say, "Yes." I like to put stickers
into the circles that Morah Chaya makes. I also like to paint
and glue and I love to listen to the parsha stories
that Morah Dina tells. And when Morah Dina shows us the
alef- beis, I feel glad when I can recognize all the
letters. I know them, but I'm too shy to say so...
My Mommy thinks that I like gan but really, I only
like to do the things we do in gan, but I don't LIKE
gan at all. I don't like Morah Chaya because she never
talks to me. She never says to me, "Oh, you're so cute," or
"Wow! You know how to put the stickers in the circles so
well," even though she says it to the other children. And I
do it just as well as they do.
She just gives me orders, like, "Sit down", "Stand up!" or
"Go there" or "Put that away." Sometimes she barks, "Shmuly!
You had an accident AGAIN!" or "Shmuly, come back! Where are
you going?" Then all the other children look at me and I feel
very silly or bad, so I try to do what she says as quickly as
I can. And I try hard never to cry because then they all call
me a crybaby. It happened once...
I like Morah Dina a little bit. She tells nice stories and
sometimes she even smiles at me.
Most of the time in gan I watch the other children and
I see how they play together and laugh and even fight with
one another. But I stay by myself. At home I laugh and giggle
with Chani and chase her around on the floor. I do puzzles
and build with Lego with Moishy and Rochel, and sometimes we
fight about whose turn it is or because I want a toy they
have. But in gan it's different. I don't know how to
make friends. Everyone plays and talks with the others, but
I'm new still and I feel strange.
When they come in the morning, they start playing and talking
with one another. They tell Morah Dina all kinds of things
that happened to them the day before. But when I come in,
Morah Dina just says, "Hello, Shmuly," takes off my coat and
then goes away. So I go into a corner with the trucks and
push them around until it's time to put them away. If someone
wants one, I let them take a truck and I don't say
Today something happened that made me feel bad. Morah Dina
and Morah Chaya said that since it was such a nice day, we
would go to the park. There was another gan there when
we came, and there were lots of children in the sandbox. I
stood by the side, not far from the benches where the
teachers were sitting, Morah Chaya and Morah Dina and the two
from the other gan. They were talking about all kinds
Suddenly they started talking about me. I know, because I
heard one Morah say, "Hey, what's with that kid over there?
Why isn't he in the sandbox with all the others?" Morah Dina
looked at me for a second and answered, "Oh, Shmuly." She
shrugged. "I don't know what's with him. He doesn't open his
mouth. He's with us already for a month but he doesn't
participate in anything."
"That's so strange," the others said. "Why is that?"'
"I really don't know. His mother says that at home he tells
her all about what we did in gan, so I don't know..."
She shrugged again.
Then I heard Morah Dina continue, "He's three and a half but
his mother hasn't yet successfully toilet- trained him." She
rolled her eyes. "Don't ask how many times he's had accidents
The others looked like they felt sorry for her. "So how do
you manage?" they asked.
Then Morah Chaya spoke up and said something that made me
very scared. "If he dared to have an accident in MY house,
I'd throw him right out the window!" she said with a half
sneer, half chuckle. The others laughed.
I don't know why they laughed. I'd be terribly frightened to
fall out of a window, especially if it's a high one. I'm so
happy that my gan is not in Morah Chaya's house!
The more I think about all the things they said, the sadder I
feel. I don't like ANY of the Moros sitting on the bench.
They think that because I don't talk, it means that I can't
hear. They think I'm just a thing, like a park bench; they
think I don't understand anything.
I wish my Moros would treat me like a real person. I wish
they would care about me and like me and say nice things
about me. I wish they would talk to me like they talk to the
other children. Maybe I'd even answer them and tell them
about Chani, and about the new puzzle Bubby bought me that I
did right away, without any help...
I'm going to tell Mommy that I don't want to go to gan
anymore. Maybe she could find me a different gan. Not
the one with those two other Moros, but a nice gan
where the Moros will love me, the way my Mommy does. Maybe...
I sure hope so!
I was one of those four teachers on the bench. I couldn't
help noticing Shmuly's crestfallen look. He must have
overheard our conversation! I felt terrible!
Later, I went over to him and talked to him in a friendly way
and patted his cheek. He responded amazingly, answering
questions, volunteering information in full sentences. In
fact, the words began gushing out of his mouth and I saw him
visibly relaxing. When it was time for all of us to go back
to our respective kindergartens, he clung to me and didn't
want to leave me. He even looked scared...
Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of caring, respect
and sincere interest in a child to understand his feelings
and help him solve his problem.
I guess this applies to adults as well...