Working inside a school is something straight out of a chaotic chapter in any novel. There are so many moving parts: running in the halls, children everywhere, teachers stressing, teachers caring, teachers raising their voices, learning, stressing, emotions. But when you quiet all of that, when you sit down as lessons are being taught and just observe kids being kids – it reminds you of one thing: slow down.
As we grow up we are bombarded with a lot of responsibility, relationships, heartbreak, failure, mental struggles, physical struggles – you name it, we’ve all been through it in varying degrees.
As we grow up we forget the simple meanings of life, love, friendship and family. We forget the magic, the wonder, the excitement.
It’s only when I look, when I listen to these tiny humans that I am reminded of all of the little things in life – things I had forgotten about long ago.
Take a look around you, what do you see? An expensive electronic? Items laying on your shelves that you have yet to use or even remember why you got them in the first place? Countless items that cost a lot but mean nothing? Yeah, me too.
But do you remember what it was like to be little? Do you remember building spaceships and cars out of cardboard boxes? Do you remember the stories you would tell about said box only to create a new narrative the next time you hopped inside?
Tiny humans know this all too well. Kids teach you that value doesn’t lie within the physical things that we can buy and place around our households or wear on our bodies daily – the value lies within the emotional attachments. As teachers, support staff, parents you see this daily. You see it in the way they throw out their handouts that you’ve spent hours on without a care in the world. Children show you what is really important, its not the things but the things that you do with them.
At the end of the day it is how you showed you cared, how you forgave, how you let go, and how you treat others.
Remember how I mentioned that cardboard box? The endless entertainment that came from it… because literally anything can be turned into a game, a toy. It isn’t always about the noise it can make, how expensive it costs, having the latest or greatest thing. Whatever you have is enough, stop searching for more.
Because when you stop searching, you begin to realise how quickly time is flying by. It’s like we blink and our entire lives have flashed by. When you observe kids at play, how important it is to continue a game of whatever it is that they are playing, how they so desperately NEED five more minutes!
Because kids, their sweet innocence, take advantage of every single minute within a day. They will squeeze as much juice out of that damn lemon they can. This is a lesson that we do hold onto but I think we fail to understand it properly. We seize the people but we don’t seize the moment. We are not promised forever, all we truly have is right now – here.
Remember that excitement I was talking about? When was the last time you were truly excited? Because, damn, kids look forward to EVERYTHING – recess, the weekend, lunch, holidays, friends. It doesn’t matter how BIG or little it is, the excitement continues to stay alive.
But what happens when something fails these tiny humans – when it seems like the world is ending over a hangnail or the ball being taken away or friends moving away? Children will look to us, the adults, for help. And help we do. It isn’t until we are older that we forget that relying on others isn’t considered a failure. We try to do everything on our own, shoulder the pain, fixing everything until it is perfect and not tell anyone that we are really struggling (until it’s too late). It’s okay to seek support, to lean on others – stop forgetting that.
Resentment. Grudges. Arguments.
How long can you do any of these things with or to a child? Not very long. You look into their eyes and they show you the true power of forgiveness, and most importantly, the healthy part that lives inside of it – letting go, moving on.
Children have a way of leaving the past behind without even a second glance backwards.
Think about it. A child throwing the LARGEST tantrum – world ending type shit – in the middle of a crowded store. Parents are fed up. People are staring, throwing all kinds of judgement. Said child sees something else, gets distracted from said tantrum. What happened? Why the tantrum? You asked them and they won’t even remember.
We can learn a lot here – trust me. Because we are so hellbent on clinging to the negative, holding onto what has happened, being upset over what was only holding us back. Because when we can just leave it there, forget, move on, let go, start over – that’s where the peace sets in.
I think we all know that life is messy but as we get older, for some silly reason, it becomes more and MORE important that everything is clean. Dirty hands are a sign of poor hygiene. A broken anything is something to be punished for. Mess is not praised.
If we could just look more closely at the dysfunction we could see what the kids see – teaching moments, chaos means growth, dirt means play, mess means engagement. Because the more time you spend around these tiny humans, the more you start to realise how uptight you’ve become. It’s okay that they are going bite their nails after playing in the mud. It’s okay not to wash your hands before and after every meal. It’s okay that the crystal bowl shattered when the ball hit it. Children are going to make mistakes, get messy, and frustrate you to the point of no return – but it’s healthy.
Because as we step further away from the mess we understand that we have been prioritizing the wrong things. Don’t be so quick to anger.
Because as we grow so accustomed to the negative feelings – anger, hurt, ashamed, judgmental, etc. – we forget about the positive feelings – happiness, excitement, love, growth.
For children, there is no distinction of gender or race. There are no boundaries to friendships. There is no fear when it comes to holding someone’s hand or pulling them in a little closer for a hug.
Children are not inherently bad. They don’t judge someone by their skin colour, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, if they are unique, or by what they wear. Children just love, have fun, and enjoy whatever is around them.
Being around children is like pulling the masks we have all held up to our faces to hide our emotions. Suddenly you see the world differently again – everything is vibrant and playful again. You remember the beauty that is around you – the little things, the big things, the things that are often overlooked.
It’s nice to remember that.
It’s nice to step back.
It’s nice to see things as if you are seeing them for the first time all over again