It’s almost magic. You tell a group of first graders that you are an author and they look at you in an entirely new, appreciative way. You’re either an oddity from a different planet or you’re a superhero similar to Superman or John Elway.
Somehow, the opinion depends on the writing skills of the admirer. Those who write with agility and confidence want to know the subjects and titles of my books. The writing-impaired would rather ask my favorite color or football team.
Watching me write in my journal will also have two different effects. If they are staring at blank pages, they observe me with a combination of envy and frustration. The writers or writers-in-training offer to share work and sit intently as they craft their masterpieces.
As much as we would like to think that students model (positive) behavior, some of it is simply unattainable or unreachable. This should come as no surprise – many have the stamina and self-discipline to run marathons while others of us huff and puff to finish a 5k.
Happily, kids display a greater understanding of strengths and weaknesses than we might expect. Writers will help the struggling non-verbal. Math whizbangs will patiently assist the math-impaired, simply as a gesture of kindness.
We have much to learn from our kids about acceptance. Most will sympathize about broken bones and boo-boos and will help a fallen or crying classmate.
Whatever the crisis, those with the biggest hears, drives and skills will surface and throw out all necessary life preservers. Maybe it’s learned behavior, maybe it’s nurtured or maybe it’s simply our inherent kindness that prevails and persists. No matter what factors are involved, there are formidable reasons to believe that our future generations will consist of caring humanitarians. Shalom.