7.30.2013

The One Who Makes Me Better

There's this little one. Six years old, going to first grade next year. We'll call him J. He's tall and skinny, has a small face and a sweet outlook on life.

And he's my shoulder angel.

This little one, I don't know what it is, but he observes things simply as they are, and makes an innocent assumption off of it.

One time I was leaning on a table. I remember my first day in a classroom, I was sitting on these little cubby shelf things and my boss walked by and said "Just as a reminder, Lara, chairs are for sitting on." I nodded and waved, and looked away, and she said "Meaning, we sit on chairs. Not tables, cubbies, shelves." And then I blushed. It made sense, because kids do what the teachers do, and it wouldn't be safe for the kids to be sitting everywhere they wanted to sit.

So back to that day I was leaning on a table. Just leaning. But maybe I was sitting on it a tiny bit. My weight was definitely on it. And J came over and said "Oh! I didn't know that teachers were allowed to sit on the tables, that's cool!"

The thing is, from any other kid, that would be a snarky comment, but from him... he's just so innocent! You know he's not trying to be rude. He's just observing and making comments.

We had tater tots the other day at work. Kids LOVE those things. We only give them a certain amount, and then the kitchen is closed, because there's not enough to give them all more. Say we give them all 5, and there's 20 kids. What if there's 19 left over? Using this math, sometimes teachers sneak a few extra for themselves. So we announced that the kitchen was closed, and while I was sitting at the table, a co-worker asked if I wanted more tater tots. I said no, I was fine, but J was sitting next to me, and he said "That's nice to be a teacher, you get more tater tots." I blushed. He's a quick little one.

The kids just bluntly observe these things, and it's not just J, though he is the one that does it the most. They see something, and make a statement about it, and you wonder whether the way you've been doing it your whole life is wrong or not. If it's so clearly wrong that a child notices it... maybe we should re-evaluate it.

We have this food program which will be leaving soon, where we give the kids breakfast, lunch, and snack every day. The law is that we have to give them all of the food we have to offer. They ALL have to have milk. They ALL have to have corn. They ALL have to have an apple. And often times, you put it on their plate and they scream that they don't want it and it's gross, but we have to give it to them. It's the law. There's reasons behind the law, and I get that but...

A little one quietly commented that it was wrong, we were wasting food by giving it to kids who don't want it, and we should save it for those who do, because we're taking from them by doing this.

It makes you think. What else would they notice.

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