Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Up Close and Personal
First, I read Janet Lansbury's post about the Easily Forgotten Gift. Then I read Teacher Tom's post about Love Bites. Both are really great posts and if you haven't read them, I would recommend you go and do that - after finishing this post, of course! I nodded and smiled as I read those posts. I agreed with them and the comments that were made. Then I began reflecting.
Last week I helped with a Christmas party for a group of 4-year-olds. It's always good for me to interact with kids younger than I normally teach. I see the differences in behavior (and sometimes appreciate more the maturity of my 5s!). This group of 4s was very curious about me. I was asked many questions: How old are you? What color is your car? How do you like your water? How old are you really?
As the time was winding down, Mrs. Cindy asked me to sit on the floor with the group and play a game (while the other adults got things ready to send home). Normally when I sit on the floor with the 5s, the kids sit close to me and we talk. When I sat on the floor with the 4s, they sat VERY close to me...and then on me. They touched my arms, my knees, my shoulder. A couple wanted to rub my beard (and did so without asking first). I was a Jungle Gym for a few minutes until I could get things a little settled and start a guessing game. It's been a while since I've been climbed on like that.
In light of the posts above, I begin to see this experience for what it was. Kids were trying to connect with me in the best ways they could. They were wanted me to pay attention to them and connect with them, too. I wasn't upset with what happened; I knew it was to be expected in a group of preschoolers. But, upon reflection, I began to see how special it was...what a gift those kids gave me as they welcomed me into their group.
Sometimes things that adults look at as irritating or bothersome are really kids working out how to interact in social settings. As adults we've had lots of practice relating to others (and sometimes we still muck that up!). Preschoolers have had limited experience and want to connect in personal ways. So a little beard rub might just be the way to connect to a new person, to let him know that you are interested in him.
I've even learned to appreciate the (seemingly) constant chorus of "Mr. Scott, look! Mr. Scott, play this with me!" in my classroom. Even though it may seem irritating and incessant, it's really the sound of love and acceptance. All packaged in tiny hands and tiny voices. I am blessed.