Nancie was my second grade teacher’s daughter. Her mom brought her into our classroom one day when her kindergarten class had a day off. Nancie was wearing a pink top with pink shorts and pink sandals. Her mom told us she was two years younger than us, but somehow forgot to mention her name.
We quickly learned that she was a little shy. Her mom had her call roll so she could get to know each of our names. She slowly got through with this task without looking up and then sat cross-legged on her mom’s big chair the rest of the morning. As she crossed her legs the first time, one of her pink sandals fell off and made a distracting noise. This made her sink deeper into the chair and blush a dark shade of red. As she sat there alone, I watched her all morning. She began coloring on a tablet she was holding and did not look up the whole time.
At lunch, she came out with us, but sat by herself under a tree on the edge of the playground. I decided to go over and talk to her.
“Hi,” I said, “I like your pink outfit. You wanna sit and talk?”
She looked me over and finally nodded yes. I could tell she had forgotten my name, so I said, “I’m Phil, and I hope you never forget my name.”
She opened up a bit when she replied, “I’ll try to remember if you try to remember mine. I’m Nancie, Nancie with an IE.”
Nancie and I talked about the morning. When I asked her how she felt about being in our class, she frowned, “I don’t like being up front. I feel like everyone’s staring at me.”
I told her, “I think I know how I can help.”
When lunch ended we returned to the classroom. I asked the teacher if Nancie could sit next to me since there was an empty desk, which would make it easier for her to do her coloring on. She asked Nancie what she wanted to do. Nancie gladly came and sat next to me for the rest of the day. She smiled and even got involved with some of the discussions the class had. At the end of the day, she said good-bye to me and thanked me for being so nice.
I didn’t give much thought to Nancie after that day.
Fast forward to my junior year of high school. I became a teacher’s aide in a freshman English class. Two of my responsibilities had me sitting up front at the teacher’s desk grading papers, and taking roll every morning. It was the first day of a new semester and a whole new class of freshmen sat in front of me. I always felt uncomfortable meeting new people and this was no different. I felt like they were all staring at me.
When it came time to call roll, there were some names I couldn’t pronounce properly, which made me more nervous than normal. I got through most of the names and then called out “Nancy Ann.” From the back of the room a confident voice answered: “Hi, Phil. My name is Nancie, Nancie with an IE.”
I looked up and felt relieved. It was Nancie from second grade.
She smiled and said, “You told me not to forget your name and I didn’t. After you finish roll why don’t you come back here and sit next to me in this empty desk?”
After roll call I made my way to the back row.
Nancie shook my hand and said, “You looked uncomfortable up there. Remember how nice you were to me that day in grade school?”
“Thanks for returning the favor,” I replied.
Our situations had been reversed, but the underlying message of this experience remained with me. As a result of my making the effort to reach out, even though it was a small gesture, when years later it was I who needed the help, miraculously it was there.
This was lesson number three, which I added to my list.
1) Be different, sincere, and make females feel special.
2) Girls remember and cherish the small things that they experience.
3) Girls remember the good things you do for them and want to reciprocate.