As a volunteer docent with our local art museum, I got to spend a few days last week with elementary school students. My own children left the nest more than a decade ago, and I’ve been retired from teaching for a few years, so I almost forgot how meaningful time spent with kids can be. Here are just a few simple lessons they reminded me.
- Be Energetic. From the moment they tumbled off the school bus, the students exuded a contagious sense of energy and excitement. I think it’s possible for adults to maintain a youthful energy without bouncing around like Will Ferrell in Elf.
- Share. Kids are used to sharing. Whether it’s a crayon, the water fountain or space in front of a painting, they know they have to wait their turn.
- Learn. Kids are proud of what they know and are little sponges for learning new things. As adults, every day is a chance to learn something new.
- Create. Give a dozen kids the exact same art supplies and they will confidently create a dozen completely different things. Creating stuff keeps us young and sharp.
- Follow the Rules. Kids know there are almost always rules to follow, and they understand there are consequences if they don’t. Imagine if adults did the same.
- Give Hugs. Spend a day with little kids and you are guaranteed to remember the sweet gift of a hug.
- Play. If you’ve forgotten how to play, watch kids for five minutes. They will remind you how.
- Be Yourself. Look at any group of children and you will quickly see their individuality even if they’re wearing the same school uniform. How wonderful it is that we aren’t all the same.
- Keep it Simple. Show kids an ornate marble sculpture and they just might be more impressed by the ladybug crawling on it.
- Think About the Future. Children remind us we will be replaced by the future generation. What kind of world do we want to leave them? §