Finding Small Good Things – St. Daniel

April 8th, 2021 – by Trevor Scott Barton

“There were deep wrinkles in the corners of her eyes and across her forehead. 

They didn’t seem to be wrinkles of worry that he’d seen on his mami and abuelo’s faces as they worked the fields and lived among strangers in small southern towns. 

No, they seemed to be wrinkles of kindness that might have come from years and years of loving and hoping, the kind of wrinkles you get when you cradle a baby in your arms and rock it deep into the night, the kind that come when you study the small, quiet things in the world and wonder why so few people see or hear the beauty they hold.”

These words and thoughts tell the story of how I’ve come to study life.

They paint a picture of my student, Daniel.

He’s one of those small, quiet people.

He and his family are from Mexico.

He’s a big brother to three younger siblings.

He speaks fluent Spanish at home and fluent English at school.

He’s a math whiz.

He’s a great writer.

At the end of the school day, when all of my students are swinging their backpacks over their shoulders and saying their goodbyes, he’s straightening up the tables and picking up bits and pieces of paper on the floor.

If students are struggling with reading, writing or ‘rithmatic, he’s always there to help.

If students are crying from skinned knees or hurt feelings, he’s always there to comfort them.

Sometimes he whispers to his neighbors when he’s not supposed to be talking or tries to play a game on his Chromebook when he’s supposed to be working, but most times he’s as saintly as a ten year old can be.

By that I mean this.

There is a Latin phrase that is etched on the side of my college ring.

“Esse Quam Videri,” it reads.

To be, rather than to seem.

The essence is more important than the video.

He’s small and quiet.

He brings beauty and wonder to my classroom and our world.


Trevor Scott Barton
Trevor Scott Barton is a street writer; Greenville teacher; wanderer/wonderer. Read Trevor’s column in The State Let us now praise famous teachers from 2017 to enjoy even more of his beautiful writing.


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