| "Today, we're going--"
Alanna, the preschool teacher stopped speaking when the door opened.
"Sorry, Miss Lannie. This is Rowena Blackmoon, and it's her first day here." Alanna Jacobs knew Melody's heart for the hurting, and she smiled at the older girl.
"Thank you for helping her. I'll be sure to let Mrs. Donne know you were helping so you aren't counted as tardy."
"I'll come for you at lunchtime, okay?" Melody said, seeing Rowena's eyes fill with tears. "You can play with Miss Lannie and all the people here. They are all really nice, and you'll have a lot of fun!" She waved as she left the classroom.
Now what was Rowena to do. This new lady smiled at her just like Melody did. She looked nice, but she was a stranger. What if she turned out to be like Becky? At this though, she stepped away from the new lady and began to retreat to a corner.
"Miss Hanna is going to read our Bible story this morning," that lady was saying. What was the Bible? Rowena had heard Melody say something about it, but she didn't get it? What did it matter anyway? The nice lady's voice interrupted her thoughts.
"I'm Miss Lannie, and I will be your teacher. I want to get to know you, so will you come play with me?" Alanna reached out for Rowena's hand. It wouldn't matter if Rowena wanted to play or not; obviously, this teacher could do whatever she wanted to do. She seemed nice enough, but how could Rowena be sure that wasn't just pretense? Still, this Lannie touched her gently and spoke softly and in a friendly tone. Maybe she would be like Melody after all.
Alanna learned much information from her role play with Rowena. They had played with dolls together, and Rowena had made her "baby" sleep in a pretend shed without blankets. She let her doll eat only when she was "good." The baby was oftened threatened with statements like, "Go away. You're bad. I hate you."
What must Rowena's life have been like for her to enact this in her play? Now Rowena was in the classroom with the other children and the two teacher's aides. She seemed to be adjusting well, so Alanna slipped out to do some detective work. She was on her way to the superintendent's office to track down Rowena's file, when Becky stopped her.
"Mrs. Jacobs, I need to talk to you about Miss Blackmoon."
"She has proven to be difficult to work with. She's obstinate, disobedient and demanding. You really need to give her a firm hand."
"Ms. Robinson, I appreciate your information. I'll teach her according to the needs I see, but I thank you for telling me this anyway." Becky appeared to be seething. Obviously, Alanna wasn't going to be drawn into her game. Finally, she marched toward the exit, seeing that she wouldn't get anywhere with the teacher. She had tried to warn Lannie, and the young woman would see the right in what Becky said soon enough.
Lannie stormed to the boys' dormitory.
"Scott!" she practically spat. Scott Jacobs, Alanna's husband, emerged from a small child's room carrying linens.
"What's wrong?" He knew that tone of voice, and now he could see that something was certainly afoot. Something went terribly awry.
"That blasted...Becky Robinson just tried to tell me how to teach my new preschooler. That girl has obviously been through dreadful things far beyond what I can imagine. I just did some play therapy with her. Well, you know how I try to become acquainted with my students. She's definitely been through something terrible, based on her play, and that dormitory shift worker..." She continued to sputter, unable to find the words in her fury.
"Alanna," Scott simply spoke her name as he drew her to him. The voice and touch seemed to calm her, and she tried again.
"Becky has absolutely no idea how to work with these children. They're all living here for a reason. I mean, there isn't one who doesn't come from some sort of trauma. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, but these traumatized kids need special care. Becky treats all of us like dirt. It's not easy for the staff, but it's exponentially more difficult for these young people she's supposed to care for. Well, no matter what, I'm going to show my new charge that she's loved just because she's a person. We need to impress upon Mrs. Donne the full impact that Becky is having on her girls before she sends them spiraling into serious trouble." Scott just stood there listening to her talk. He knew that once she got this out, she could go back to the classroom with renewed energy. She was absolutely justified in her anger toward Becky. The woman had no idea of what children were about, especially troubled children and youth. Scott, as the night shift worker in Baker Hall (the boys' dormitory), he did have occasion to work with Becky. Since Mrs. Donne left that position, Becky ran Ashlyn Heights (the girls' dormitory) like boot camp. She couldn't march in as a drill sergeant and expect her girls to just fall in line. They were people. Some had been at Rosewood Terrace for years, but some were little, new, scared and still dealing with some sort of trauma, just as Lannie had said. Thoughts of the gentle, kindhearted and soft-spoken woman he had married brought him back to the present. "Thanks for listening," she was saying. "I was just so ready to scream...that, or send a fist into self-righteous Becky's face." Alanna sighed, and Scott knew she was finished venting for the time being, anyway. She smiled at him, and that expression reflected her gratitude. As he watched her walk back toward her classroom, he silently thanked God that he had faced a delay. He thanked God hat he was still at Rosewood; if he had left for home five minutes earlier, Lannie would have had to deal with that on her own. She certainly could have, for she was a strong woman. Still, he praised God for allowing him to be there to help his wife in her time of need. She, more than anyone else, understood the pain these children were experiencing. She had been sexually abused for years, and it still affected many aspects of her life. True, the Healing One, Jesus, was continually shaping those horrendous years to make sense of the abuse, but Alanna still had to deal with the effects of the years of incest and rape. Yes, as always, God knew what he was doing. Lannie was just the right person to help these little ones start anew--from the ruin of their trauma onto a path that could lead to God, if only they would choose Him.
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