Disclaimer: this kid came to class already with those soothing sticker patches all over the mosquito bites, so there was minimal for me to do except to distract him. I genuinely thought it would work, but he tried it and returned with his findings to refute my claim. It made me chuckle.
This happened a few months ago, but I kept coming back to it. I love it every time a kid challenges me, and I love when they prove me wrong or tell/ask me things that I have no answers for. I love that mental stimulation, and over the years, I’ve realised that not many adults feel the same. Some find it frustrating, and I agree that it can be, especially when you are pressed for time and need to attend to other responsibilities. Some find it distressing when a child does or says something unexpected, and we don’t know the right way to respond. Granted, it comes with practice, but I also want to quote Robert Henri:
Feel the dignity of a child. Do not feel superior to him, for you are not.
When you are honest with them (and yourself), it becomes easy. You can explain many things simply without the need to dumb it down. And while they are in their why-phase, my favourite thing to do is to ask them back. It gives them space to contemplate!
I also am always in awe of how confident they are in pushing boundaries and challenging the norms, and on occasion, authority. I was never like that as a child. I was hopelessly terrified of authority, and fear governed many of my actions during my 10 years of mandatory schooling. I was the student who never missed an assignment, who would double and triple check her bag every night to make sure she didn’t forget anything. So it is no surprise that I never want the kids I meet to live in that same fear bubble. Instead, I want to model the same spirit of curiosity, reminding them that adults don’t always have the answers, that we can be wrong about things we were once so sure about.
I tell everyone I meet that I genuinely believe all of the world’s problems can be solved if people know how to communicate with each other. So let’s not stifle their voice when they are learning to discover it.
Thank you for tuning in this month, I hope you are making space for the kid in you too!
This month’s play-list: