In sixth grade there was a boy named John.
He was a bit slower than average and had been left back several times, so he was bigger than all the other boys.
We called him ‘Big John’.
He was shy and quiet, and we gave him a wide berth, not quite sure of him.
That year the teacher decided we (as the sixth grade class) would host a ‘Colonial Fair’ for all the lower grades. We each had to choose an activity appropriate to the era and demonstrate it in period costume. (Think Williamsburg, or Civil War reenactors.)
Big John came dressed in a ‘costume’ that wasn’t much different than his regular attire.
He brought with him a hand cranked apple peeler that clamped to the edge of the table and a bushel of apples.
As the different classes worked their way around all our demonstrations, a crowd began to form around Big John.
He sat and cranked the peeler and started to tell stories.
Stories as if he were actually a colonial settler and what his life was like.
He spun such a tale it was as if you were there, in that time, right beside him!
Even the teacher was fascinated.
When he was finished the entire room burst into applause.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person’s face light up the way Big John’s did that day.
It was a powerful lesson.
Never judge a book by its cover.