We are approaching the inauguration of a new president. People are losing their minds. Those who did not support the new guy are waiting with twisted faces from chomping on a lot of sour grapes. Those who did support him are anxiously waiting with eyes glazed over for HUGE changes to occur. The rest of the world is scratching their head and trying to figure out how exactly Omarosa ended up in this whole puzzle of a presidency. It’s a mess really. This whole political “season” has been. Family members are estranged. Friends no longer communicate. Social Media has become a minefield. I don’t know how to talk to people I have known for decades. Sigh… As some of you may remember, I am a teacher of kindergarteners. I can tell you that five and six year olds are smart. They don’t get tripped up by labels , only their own shoelaces. They aren’t “political”. Kindergarteners are very practical about life. So for today’s blog post I thought I would list things I have learned from my kindergarteners that have helped me deal with our current political situation.
Skin Color: Kinders don’t care what your skin color is as long as you share the legos and don’t “cut” in line. I’ve said for years that children don’t see color. Recently, while teaching a lesson about MLK and explaining about segregation I smiled when a student told me that it was really silly for people to not use the same water fountain or bathroom. When I showed them pictures of segregated busses and movie theaters they were confused. I love that this old concept is so foreign to them. Despite what we see on the news, we must be doing something right in this messed up country of ours after all. One of my lessons on this topic involves observing the shells of a brown chicken egg and a white chicken egg. We make note of the different color and then marvel at how they are exactly the same on the inside. We stick our arms out and compare the colors of our skin and then discuss how on the inside we are all the same because we are filled with love. I always find this lesson to be somewhat emotional because the kids “just get it”.
Fair Share: If it’s one thing little ones understand it’s fairness. Whether its snack, toys or pencils…everyone should have one. If someone at the table is without, they will literally run over each other to get one for the needy person. Could you imagine if we were still like this as adults? When was the last time you saw someone who needed something and blazed a trail to get it for them? Imagine how many people would be fed, housed, and cared for if we followed the kinders’ lead.
Equality: Boy or girl makes no difference in kindergarten. When kinders play, the boys play in the kitchen and the girls build with blocks. The idea that one gender is superior to another is just silliness. Each child is celebrated for their own unique accomplishments. Body parts don’t matter and need to stay covered up. As far as transgender…I think we can all agree to wait until they know how to tie their shoelaces before that subject needs to be tackled…thank you very much.
Love: I think that my little friends do this best. They smile and giggle when something makes them happy. They hug each other with appreciation when someone is kind. If someone is crying, they run to tell me and then run back to console their friend in tears. If someone leaves early, they are sent off with shouts of, “good-bye” and “I’ll miss you”. When a friend returns after an absence, they are greeted with hugs and smiles and big “hellos”. They are so very genuine with their feelings. They love each other at their worst and enjoy each other at their best. No stings attached.
Forgiveness: Now don’t get me wrong. These kiddos drive me nuts. They tattle and disagree constantly. However, after the problem has been worked out, they move on…quickly. There are no grudges. I’ve had parents ask that their kids be separated because the parent is still angry about something that happened between the children. How do the kids feel about it? They forgive and forget at rapid speed. Apologies are made quickly and easily. Forgiveness is given and there are no strings attached. There are still people who walk past me, holding a grudge, because they don’t like how I voted. Safe spaces? Really? Try hiding a classroom of little ones during an intruder drill. Better yet, try explaining to them why we are hiding…
Silliness: If we are honest with each other we would admit that there has been a tremendous amount of silliness with this whole election season. Things have been done and said on both sides that leave us shaking our heads. Many people get up in arms and literally freak out at the nonsense. Do you really think all those Facebook memes are true? Electing a president doesn’t mean one side is right and one side is wrong. Our world is not black and white. It’s silly to think that it is. People have lost their sense of humor. This is not the case with kindergartners. They laugh. They laugh when they make a mistake. They laugh when I make a mistake. They laugh when something goes wrong. They laugh when someone farts. They laugh when someone says “underwear”. They don’t take life too seriously and are happy little people as a result.
So…take some advice from five year olds. Don’t judge people by their skin color or gender. Be nice to each other. Share. Be generous. Be kind. Love people. Be silly. Laugh. Sit and giggle with your friends at lunch. When you fart, it’s ok to laugh…just make sure you say “excuse me”.