These past two Wednesdays after the school's final bell, Tamara and Trevor hung out with Michael and Julia in Mr. Spark's office. I've changed his name slightly to protect his identity, though I can't imagine him objecting to my writing here.
He's warm and kind. The first time we met, he asked me a bunch of questions in between interactions with the children while they sat around the table drawing pictures. Do Tamara and Trevor play outside much? Do they get along at home? Do they play minecraft? and so on. There was absolutely nothing in his manner to indicate malicious intent, but I felt sheepish and unprepared to answer his questions. I fumbled through some responses and discovered he was accepting and encouraging. And, as the expression goes, that's just my cup of tea.
At one point his cell phone vibrated. He glanced at the call display, promptly put his phone in his pocket and said, "You know you have a good friend when you can hang up on him."
And the following Wednesday everyone seemed more relaxed than usual. The children were comfortable in Mr. Spark's presence as he handed them candy canes and watched them make Christmas drawings for his fridge. "I love Christmas!" he kept saying. Julia, an affectionate one, put her head on his lap. He seemed a bit surprised, but he just rolled with it. "It's been a while since my own kids were this young," he said.
I guess I could share more details with you but I think this will give you a good enough idea of why the children love to spend time with him.