Children: Let them amaze you
Allison the Kindergartner
"I have to tell you what Allison did the other day," said Mrs. Caldwell, her kindergarten teacher.
"What did she do?" I asked, trying to sound calm, but feeling apprehensive.
"I don't know if you are aware that the school district recently changed its program for mentally and physically challenged students. They no longer will be in a separate classroom, but will join the regular classes. Last friday we had our first visit from three special needs students. When they were wheeled into the classroom, all of my kindergartners rushed to the opposite side of the room. The sight of the children in their wheelchairs unable to hold their heads up with their arms flaying about was frightening, I'm sure."
Mrs. Caldwell continued, "Allison, however, walked over to our guests, gave each one a hug and welcomed them. I watched in amazement as she pushed each child slowly into the center of our classroom, then sat beside them. Gradually the rest of the class left the back wall and returned to the circle."
"That is amazing," I replied, but really, I wasn't surprised. I know my daughter.
A child can display certain propensities early in life. Allison’s empathic nature is remarkable. Thirty years later, that core attribute of empathy has defined her life. She’s saving the world daily in her interactions with her co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family.
I often think about how we adults underestimate children. There is so much to be learned from their uninhibited behaviors. If we can respect the contributions of a small child, maybe their innate greatness will have a chance to flourish.