The Wisdom of Simplicity:
Kindergarten and Life
A few weeks ago, I was a guest reader in the kindergarten class of a very special six-year-old in my life. It was a joy to share a favorite book with my guy, his classmates, and their wonderful teacher.
Although my objective was to help those kids learn, as it turns out, the children taught me a few lessons. Let me share some experiences. While I read aloud, one child became quietly upset because another child had taken his place on the mat during storytime. When he told the teacher, she simply and wisely asked them “How can you fix this?” The two talked for a moment. Then one child moved over and the two shared the space. The argument settled and they went back to work.
The children listened quietly while I read. When I asked questions, most raised their hands waiting for their turns. When a child forgot and spoke out of turn, another child would remind him/her to raise a hand. Most of the time the child would listen to these instructions, enabling many of the children with opportunities to speak and be heard.
They took care of business. When I accidentally turned two pages instead of one, my beloved, alert six-year-old friend quietly stood up and in a politely, hushed voice showed me the page I had missed. When I finished reading, some children said thank you. And, later during a science activity, one kindergartner assisted another child who was struggling to accomplish tasks.
I smile as I consider the wisdom, generosity, and resilience of this young microcosm of humanity. Solving problems and helping each other. Sitting quietly on a rug and listening. Laughing together. Arguing over territory and fixing the disagreement by peacefully moving aside to create space.
Some years ago, author Rob Fulghum wrote, “All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.”
Could some of life’s solutions really be that simple?
What can we learn from the wisdom of children, and what can they learn from us?
- Fulghum, R. (1986). All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things. Villard Books, NY.
- Waters, L. (2017). The Strength Switch: How the New Science of Strength –Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish. Avery, NY.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD, PCC, CMC is an ICF Credentialed Professional Coach and Speaker. Ilene helps people live their best lives by bringing mind, body, and spirit into flow with their strengths, callings and potential. She inspires clients to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online and access free resources at http://ileneberns-zare.com.
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