<u>Yellow Tulips</u> by Hugh Leichtman "I often introduce my speeches about children whose development is at risk by comparing them to a single yellow tulip standing out against a field of those perfectly harmonious in shape and color. I'll explain..." Several years ago I went for a quick walk to Boston's Trinity Church to catch a peek of the early spring flower beds. As expected, the tulips were up in all their glory, row upon row. The pure sunlight of the early afternoon transformed their petals into translucent bells. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed something wrong. Something most definitely was wrong. Something was askance in one of the extended beds. Sitting among the whiter than white tulips that were elegantly framed by a ribbon of radiantly pink ones was a single yellow tulip. It was awkwardly hanging out with its peers. It was a bit taller with a slightly smaller bell composed of slightly irregular petals. It was so different that it caused me a flashing instant of discomfort. I immediatly understood that recording the yellow tulip's situation was a necessity. I double timed it back to my office, grabbed my ever-present camera, returned to Trinity and shot an entire roll of my best film. The yellow tulip was photographed from every angle, close-up, far-away, I couldn't bear missing a detail. "Why was I doing this with such a passion?" I whispered to myself. "Because such a beautiful sight does not often come around." I answered back. "Because the yellow tulip won't be around for that long is really the truth of the matter." I confessed. Right then I vowed to return to the yellow tulip daily to follow its destiny. This didn't prove much of a task. The following morning it was gone. Snapped off close to the ground and thrown aside. I had not expected this inevitable scenario to play out so quickly. I had thought its quirky beauty might be tolerated longer. As I mulled this scene over, I realized that the yellow tulip was a metaphor for children whose constitutions and life experiences have turned their lives into something different than most. And just as the yellow tulip had been broken, so would the development of these children if they weren't protected and nurtured. It didn't take much of a leap to view Wediko's high-risk children as children with yellow tulip brains, different types of brains, capable of wonderful things if facilitated and kept out of harm's way.