Life lessons from Head Start

I've now been in my clinical placement at a Head Start on the north side of the city for seven weeks.  On a daily basis I work with anywhere between 25-50 kids doing language-centered learning in the classroom, and another 4-5 children individually for speech and language therapy.  I've learned so much in such a short time and I could reflect on about 100 professional ways I've grown.  What I really want to reflect on, though, is a life lesson I've learned from these little people.

Children aged 3-5 are so much fun.  They're cute.  They say hilarious things.  They rarely pronounce my name correctly (I get called everything from Ms. Sexy to Ms. Chunky, no kidding).  They have good days and bad days.  They all have strengths and challenges. 

Most intriguing to me is this - they say what they mean and they mean what they say.  If they don't like you or don't trust you, you know it.  If they do, they show you.  They smile at you.  They hold your hand.  They stick to your side like Velcro.  They may even try to give you hugs and kisses (which is not allowed at Head Start, but I sometimes wish it were since some of them seem so starved for affection).  Most importantly, they tell you.  They tell you exactly how much they like you and if they think you're fun or boring.  I love this about them.

As one who is inclined to always assume that most people do not like me, I find it so refreshing.  It has inspired me to be more honest with the people I care about, to tell them just how I feel.  I suppose that many think I'm a little strange for saying what I think and feel, but maybe, like me, they like it.

I've been trying to not only tell those I like that I like them, but what I like about them.  This is a difficult thing to do because you risk being rejected.  You risk being ridiculed and thought of as strange.  I've learned from these kids, though, that I just don't care.  I'm going to keep on telling people that I love them and why I love them and hope that it will make a difference in their lives.  It certainly has in mine.

(Video via Abraham Piper)

1 comment:

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

Why would they prohibit children from expressing affection towards their teachers?