It is such a privilege to meet these children right where they are in their lives; so untouched by all the baggage that detracts from who we really are as we get older. We get to meet them and experience them as their genuine true spirits before the ego gets in the way and experiences tarnish that wonderfully original spirit of theirs.
How can we foster confidence and individuality in these kids so they can move forward without losing their true essence? As an adult, I am curious to hear stories about what I was like as a kid. That insanely confident, capable, over-the-top silly, wise old soul. I wonder sometimes where she went! Even my 9 year old niece loves hearing stories about what she was like when she was “little”. She laughs as if we are talking about someone else from 100 years ago!
Life has a way of knocking you around a bit as you grow; experiences can cause doubt. Failures chip away at confidence. Growing up can make us become self conscious and unsure of ourselves. We become critical of ourselves and others. We seek approval in places we shouldn’t. We personalize disappointments.
When you spend the day in a room of 4 year olds, you witness what it is like to move on quickly from injury, how to let go of a grievance, how to maintain a sense of self even when you feel you’ve been wronged or shamed. You see what resilience is. You give in without losing your self. You include friends even when you feel like playing with just one other kid. You fix things quickly.
It is precisely because these little ones are still in their unselfconscious, true self that we can work with them as strong individuals contributing to a community. Social problems can be worked out authentically when the involved parties are not hamstrung by ego, being right, having to win, but instead a desire to come to a fair and just compromise. Here is where community begins.