December 15, 2009

Lessons From a Stranger

One thing that everyone who works with kids ought to remember is that they have a lot to teach you.  Teachers and parents sometimes become so wrapped up in everything their students or children are supposed to know that they aren't awake in the moment when their child has something to contribute.  Or they are too entrenched in their own position and too proud to back down.

Sometimes children give us simple gifts in their innocent sweetness or humor, reminders of what is really important.  They can show us the spirit we should have with us every day.

The other day, a little boy at the grocery store looked me right in the eye as I passed him and said joyfully, "Merry Christmas!"  I was pleasantly taken aback.  I stopped walking so I could return his greeting in the spirit it was given to me.  I smiled, I made eye contact.  Most importantly, I stepped outside myself, if only for a moment, and felt a child's joy in the spirit of the season.

Even now I can't help but smile as I think of that boy.  Don't let yourself miss these moments when life offers them.  Although children can bring you stress and try your patience, they also bring unparalleled joy.  This year, take the time to feel that special joy that only children can bring.

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