We can learn a lot about community from
children, particularly when spontaneity arises. This story highlights the
essence of community. This story is from my own experience I had with the
children I was working with about 2 years ago. They were in my therapy group for
various reasons. The common element being that they manifested behaviors that
cause them to get rejected socially. Here is my story:
Our Social Skills Kids Club went on a field trip to the woods for a Heroes and
Hero Adventures day to learn team building. These 6 children, age 7-10 had never
been together for so long a time. Their parents had been a little nervous about
them getting along for so long as most had attention and behavior problems.
Our day began with several emotional melt downs as the children got their
feelings hurt by each other and then refused to cooperate with each other or
with the group leader when they didn't get their way. The attention was going in
all different directions. I sucked in my breath for a very long day of dealing
with fights, healing tears, and gradually gaining ground with building
cooperation. Then a miracle happened!
One of the children found a green, scaly lizard about 7 inches long ( I think a
salamander but they thought a lizard) in a pipe under the path. They were so
excited! The group claimed her as their pet and named her Miss L. for Miss
Lizard. They put all their attention into taking care of her. They built a home
for her out of rocks, twigs, mud and leaves. They found water for her so she
could swim in her new home, and they built a tower so she could sun bathe. They
even tried to find her a husband. They really loved her and did everything they
could to make her a good, comfortable home. Miss L. became very contented with
all the love she received.
Miss L. also became a great teacher. To care for Miss L well, the children had
to agree on a lot of things, sometimes having to put the need to have things
their way aside. They had to make rules about who owned her, how to take care of
her, who was to hold her and when, and what to do with her as they carried out
their field day activiites that I planned for them. There were a lot of hurt
feelings in sorting this out, but the hurt feelings did not seem to matter when
they put the care of Miss L as the most important thing. In fact they honored
and tried to understand each others tears as the best care of Miss L. became the
highest goal to reach for. They were able to move through their hurt feelings
to wonderful cooperation, honoring and respecting each other. One of the
children, all on his own, noticed that loving Miss L. had brought them together
and helped them be a team. All of the children agreed.
When we left the forest, after our long day, the children decided, in truth,
that no one really owned Miss L. and we had a ceremony to say goodbye to her and
return her to the pipe under the path. There were a lot of tears and we had to
agree on turns to say farewell. As we did, each held her and said a prayer for
her health and well-being and thanked her for the time that she spent with us to
teach us the lesson that friendship comes out of focusing on loving others
first. We don't have to be attached to what we find on the path. The blessing is
in sharing the experience of it.
Thank you Miss L. for your blessing of our group.
Also see Self Esteem in Children
Read Poem Invocation for the Children of the Future