Once upon a time, there was a warm and wonderful teacher who stood in front of her new kindergarten class and welcomed 25 precious little girls to their first day of school.

“I am so excited we’re together and we’re going to have the best journeys.

“I have a question I’d like to ask.”

The room became very quiet though there was a lot of fidgeting in seats.

“Who thinks they’re smart?

“Raise your hands high so I can see them.”

Funny thing; there was no need to encourage high hands because before the teacher could finish her question, 25 little girls were out of their seats dancing and whooping it up with their arms so outstretched, they probably could have touched the sky.

The teacher was so very happy.

“I have another question.”

And seat fidgeting resumed.

“Who feels beautiful?”

And once more, 25 precious little girls could not contain their glee and they waved their hands as if to outdo one another and the teacher joined in and it was a perfect way to start the very first day of kindergarten.

What was so magical when it came to this school is that the same warm and wonderful teacher was going to be teaching the same 25 precious little girls each year of elementary school until they graduated 6th grade.

On the first day of first grade, the teacher welcomed back her beloved students.

There were hugs and smooches and “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” pictures and giddiness galore.

“Who thinks they’re smart?”

Twenty-three little hands shot up in the air.

“And who feels beautiful?”

Twenty-two little hands were raised.

Year after year, this warm and wonderful teacher taught these little women their ABCs and their 1-2-3s.

They memorized their full names and addresses and birthdays and phone numbers.

They made glorious rock gardens and shared love letters with senior citizen pen pals. 

They always brought in the best show and tells.

By 4th grade when the warm and wonderful teacher asked her new school year questions, things had changed so much.

“Who thinks they’re smart?”

Twenty-five little girls surveyed the room and waited.

Nine little girls (reluctantly) raised their hands and so quickly and awkwardly, they almost went unnoticed.

“Who feels beautiful?”

And not one little girl budged.

And the teacher was so very sad.

When the principal wasn’t looking, the teacher decided to change the curriculum.

She knew that if little girls grew up and didn’t think they were smart and beautiful, none of what she taught would matter.

On the very first day of 5th grade, the teacher welcomed 25 smart and beautiful young ladies to her classroom.

“Welcome you glorious warriors!

“Will everyone stand and raise your hands high up in the air.

“Please keep your hands raised so we can all see them.

“I have some really important questions to ask.”

Lisa Leshaw

Lisa Leshaw has worked as a mental health professional for the past 31 years. She currently conducts Parenting Skills Workshops, Group Counseling for Blended Families and Empowerment Circles for Women. As a consultant, Lisa travels throughout teaching Communication and Listening Skills, Behavioral Management Techniques and Motivational Strategies. To de-stress she performs in children's theatre and plays piano whenever requested. She is hoping to either write the next memorable musical composition or Great American Novel!