I recently spent time with a family member who had been in the hospital for a week. We were able to laugh and enjoy time together while various medical things were happening. We even watched Simon and Garfunkel on my laptop. Isn’t that a hoot? A private mini concert just for the two of us. I believe it was a gift to just be there.
Isn’t that what people desire? For us to be present whether we share a joyous occasion, such as a wedding, or the tough moments of life, such as a hospital stay?
I recently asked some children about this. They range in age from preschool to second grade. My hope is to inspire them to think of others and to become empathetic compassionate people.
First, I asked them to say “Present,” instead of “I’m here,” as I took attendance. This gave them the chance to understand that being present means the same as saying “I’m here.”
I asked them, too, “Do you like when mommy sits with you when you feel sick?” Once I heard positive responses, I followed up with, “What are some other times you want someone to be present with you?”
Here are their answers:
- One time at the doctor’s office, I had to get a shot.
- When I’m having a bad dream.
- When I had a high fever. My mom helped me take off my long sleeve shirt so I could cool down.
- My teacher helped me when I was scared the first few days in a new school.
- I like when someone listens to me when I’m angry.
Then, I wondered out loud for them to ponder, “How can we do this for others?”
- Tell a friend to get inside if a storm is coming.
- Help someone get to office if they fall down and make sure he is okay.
- If someone doesn’t feel well, I would offer her a drink of water.
And, this was my favorite one from a five year old:
- Tell a shy person, “It’s okay if we see you.”
I believe we (educators and parents), can use the holidays to encourage children to consider ways they can “be present” and that those moments can be just as sweet as a present under a tree.
(Side note: As a serious cat lover, I love when GG, my kitty in the photo, just hangs out near me. I bet you have a beloved pet you love having around too.)
Remember how the Grinch finally concluded?
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Whatever holiday you celebrate may you have a joyous time with family and friends. And perhaps you’d like to have a similar conversation with the children in your life. Of course, take the time to be present with them while they ponder and verbalize their thoughts.
My other passion is to promote literacy and encourage children to read and write books. Click here for information: Barb’s Author Visits and Book Making classes.
Oh, and, if you are curious, check out my famous GG books.