Gillian, who is seven years old, can’t sit still in school. She keeps getting up, gets sidetracked, lets her mind fly, and doesn’t pay attention in class. Her teachers worry about her, punish her, yell at her, and praise her when she pays attention, but nothing changes. Gillian doesn’t know how to sit down, so she can’t pay attention.
When she gets home, so does her mother’s punishment. So Gillian not only gets bad grades and punishments at school, but she also has to deal with them at home.
Gillian’s mother gets a call to come to school one day. The woman takes her hand and walks to the interview room, looking as sad as someone waiting for bad news. The teachers talk about sickness and a clear disorder. She might be too active, or she might need to take a medicine.
During the interview, the little girl’s old teacher shows up. He asks all the adults, including his mother and his coworkers, to come with him into a room next door where they can still see her. As he walks away, he tells Gillian that they will be back soon and turns on an old radio with music.
As soon as the girl realizes she is alone in the room, she stands up and starts moving up and down, following the music in the air with her feet and heart. As is common with old people, the teacher smiles as his coworkers and the mother look at him with a mix of confusion and sympathy. So he says:
“See? Gillian isn’t sick; she’s a dancer.”
He says that her mother should sign her up for a dance class and that her coworkers should make her dance sometimes. She goes to her first lesson and tells her mother when she gets home:
“Everyone is like me, so no one can sit there!”
Gillian Lynne became the choreographer of the musical “Cats” in 1981. Before that, she had been a dancer, opened her own dance school, and gotten international attention for her work.
We hope that all children who are “different” find adults who can accept them for who they are and not for what they don’t have.
Long live the little black sheep and the misunderstood people who are different. They are the ones who make this world beautiful.