To all those who can't sit still in class

Gillian is a seven-year-old girl who cannot sit in school. She continually gets up, gets distracted, flies with thoughts, and doesn’t follow lessons. Her teachers worry about her, punish her, scold her, reward the few times that she is attentive, but nothing. Gillian does not know how to sit and cannot be attentive.

When she comes home, her mother punishes her too. So not only does she Gillian have bad grades and punishment at school, but she also suffers from them at home.

One day, Gillian’s mother is called to school. The lady, sad as someone waiting for bad news, takes her hand and goes to the interview room. The teachers speak of illness, of an obvious disorder. Maybe it’s hyperactivity or maybe she needs a medication.

During the interview an old teacher arrives who knows the little girl. He asks all the adults, mother and colleagues, to follow him into an adjoining room from where she can still be seen. As he leaves, he tells Gillian that they will be back soon and turns on an old radio with music.

As the girl is alone in the room, she immediately gets up and begins to move up and down chasing the music in the air with her feet and her heart. The teacher smiles as the colleagues and the mother look at him between confusion and compassion, as is often done with the old. So he says:

“See? Gillian is not sick, Gillian is a dancer!”

He recommends that her mother take her to a dance class and that her colleagues make her dance from time to time. She attends her first lesson and when she gets home she tells her mother:

“Everyone is like me, no one can sit there!”

In 1981, after a career as a dancer, opening her own dance academy and receiving international recognition for her art, Gillian Lynne became the choreographer of the musical “Cats.”

Hopefully all “different” children find adults capable of welcoming them for who they are and not for what they lack.

Long live the differences, the little black sheep and the misunderstood. They are the ones who create beauty in this world.

Thanks @Angelsloveyou for reposting this on FB


I could identify with that girl. Not the dancer part but stuck in school and not being able to follow lessons. I used to look out the window and wish I was out of the classroom and either outside or home. I knew they would bring me back if I tried to leave. I had stomach aches almost every morning and also while in school. They told me I was making them up to get out of class. We had to have special permission to go to the bathroom. Twelve years of this! I got bad grades and even passed 6th grade on probation the year my father died. They just don’t see it do they? They don’t understand. I’m not saying poor me, just that I identify. I wonder who would have seen the real me?

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My sense is the industrial age messed us up in this way because we saw (and treated!) humans like interchangeable cogs in a machine, and viewed the role of education to make people LESS diverse… mold, squish, constrain.

I do believe that is changing. Indeed, I feel like our work with Real Skills is part of allowing each individual to be calm and confident in their own self-aptitudes, to enhance their value to themselves, and to find their own unique ways of plugging into community.

And yeah, that means cultivating non-industrial community!

Heartist Community.


I would have done much better if I had gone to school online I think. I remember getting “caught” for drawing something instead of doing my boring lesson. The teacher even took my drawing away from me. I don’t remember what I did that was bad enough to be told to go stand behind the piano, then they forgot I was there. You know, at that time I didn’t even see the “real me”.