We adults probably need to become more like the kids whom we influence. Observing them can educate us more than we can ever hope to teach them.
For example, kids celebrate everything. Winning a game will illuminate and detonate a little girl to jump repeatedly up and down. And kids will happily allow someone to take a drink of water ahead of them in the spirit of teamwork and cooperation.
Young children have no boundaries, artificial or otherwise. They will wear any color or pattern with any other, with absolutely no regard for fashion standards. They treat all people the same, regardless of color, gender, size or language. If they see a fellow student struggling with a word or equation, most will offer to help.
Students always seek attention, more often positive than negative. If they get an “attaboy” or “attagirl,” that will always suffice. Many want to be helpers. The majority will rush to identify those who are breaking rules, often taking responsibility for correcting the transgressors.
We can learn unconditionality from our kids. We can also learn that it’s happy and fun to seek reasons for jubilation. By loaning someone a crayon that they urgently need, we see boundless compassion. By being punctual and orderly, we see the value of organization. And by learning to keep opinions until asked, we can learn respect. When one student sneezes (or I do), several students bless the sneeze. Can’t we all use more blessings?
Because I have one or two or five students per day who instruct me on what they always do, I have a new appreciation for continuity. At the same time, I teach that change, generally feared, is something to be understood and embraced. By doing so, I understand resiliency.
The most vital lesson we can learn is to ask for what we want or need. When hunger calls, we need to be forthcoming about satisfying a basic need. And when we need to be hugged, the best strategy is simply to ask. Shalom.