At Washington Elementary School, each morning the teacher would take attendance by calling out our names. Now, I’m sure she could have just looked to see who was there or who wasn’t there. We sat in the same seats every day. Most days each desk was filled. It would have been fairly obvious. But I guess there was more to it than that. I guess it wasn’t for the teacher’s benefit, but for ours. When she called your name, you were to respond clearly, with purpose, “Present.” Present. Not yeah…no grunting, but “Present.”
I think of it now and think, wow! What a perfect way to begin each day. To claim, not just to the teacher, not just to the other classmates, but to yourself — I am here, now, ready. I am present!
The sun shone through the crack of the shutters this morning, calling my name. I smiled, and clearly, joyfully, with purpose, replied, “Present!”