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Let's Be More Like Them

As I sit in my office trying to squeeze in some time to create cute little turkeys before the chaos ensues after rest time, I can’t help to let my mind wander.

The state of America right now is very tense. You open your phone to constant bullying, to concerning news regarding COVID-19 and it’s so easy to feel discouraged by humanity as a whole.

Then I keep staring at these cute little turkey feathers the children created. We’ve spent all week experimenting with methods of painting. We’ve stamped with bubble wrap, we’ve used a salad spinner to mix paint colors, and we’ve used shaving cream to make fun marbled designs. All of these masterpieces are coming together to make turkey feathers for each student’s one of a kind turkey. Not one of them will be the same.

It’s a simple (even cheesy) metaphor in regards to people. We’re all human, but every single one of us was stamped and spun and printed in a different way. In child care we get to have a unique perspective of this first hand. We see many different children from different families, cultures and socioeconomic statuses. We get to see them be kids together. They are not ranked, they are not competing. Here, when they walk through our doors they get to experience the same activities, the same food on the table, the same patience and passion from staff. This is a safe place to be unapologetically themselves and learn how they as one can come together as many in a peaceful manner.

We watch children flourish and develop into little people and it’s incredible to see. It’s the little things like today when I turned around to see a child help her friend because they were struggling to put on their jacket. There was no instruction to do so, it was just an innate kindness and need to help that motivated her to do so. It’s seeing small acts like that which makes me wonder- What if we harnessed that as adults? That innate kindness. The immediate act without judgement. Purely being kind because you felt like it, without a second thought about who you were helping.

As I sit as an outsider observing our children in their bubble of positivity it makes me think a few things. Maybe we have it wrong. They say ignorance is bliss but maybe this isn’t ignorance. Maybe the kids have it right. Children forgive so easily and move on so easily from conflict. Why? Because at the end of the day it doesn't matter. They just move on.

Developmentally, they are supposed to be selfish as they are figuring out the world around them. They should have the mentality of what is in it for them? How are they going to get their needs met and the attention they need? It's literally where their brain is at in these first few years of life.

However, most times you watch the concern in their face over an upset peer. You watch them try to cheer a friend up after they get hurt or they make an extra effort to help a younger child complete a task. It’s empathy and kindness that seems to be fading all around us lately.

Maybe it’s time we step back and be more like them. Maybe instead of focusing on what’s wrong with someone before we help them, we just harness that kindness and help those who need it. No judgment.

We can still create an environment like the one these children have every single day. A safe space in a world that we can be unapologetically ourselves so that even though we are individuals we can come together as many in peaceful manner.

But what do I know… I’m just making some cute little turkeys, right?

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