“My dream is to be a superhero and I will save people.”
I clear an hour out of my schedule every other Monday morning to help in my son’s kindergarten class. He loves it. The expression on his face every time I walk through the door is an impression that stays with me long after I’ve left. His big brown eyes light up and with a big grin he rushes forward, throwing his arms around me as if he hadn’t just seen me an hour before. He doesn’t care who’s watching either. I’m not sure how long that will last so I’ll take it with a side of pleasure.
He is not the only one that loves it when I rock up ready to get my “silly” on. There’s something about hanging out with a bunch of six-year-olds that refreshes and inspires the mind. Don’t get me wrong; as much as I love it, I do so in small doses. I think teachers are like our modern-day superheroes.
This is going to sound a little creepy, but kid-watching can be extremely entertaining. We can learn so much from their zesty outlook, their resilient ability to go with the flow and their uncomplicated way of being. Those qualities are catchy. So much so, that when I cross the threshold and into the classroom, I (almost) shed the invisible cords that bound me to adulthood and barely even acknowledge the teacher.
“My dream is to be a ballerina and I’ll do a pirouette.”
I’m not like the other parent helpers. When those kids show up at my bingo table, they know they’re in for something different and a whole lot of laughs. I am not just another mum flashing words and adhering to the “quiet-is-better” rule we get thrown down our throats every 10 minutes or so.
I am their “Bingo Master”.
This self-proclaimed “Bingo Master” flashes word cards just like the other mums, but the other mums don’t suddenly break out in a song using the word of the moment as a cue or playfully tease them when clutching words like “home” and “baby” in their hands. I give them challenges, dive into their imaginations and pluck out their fascinating ideas.
I ask the boys to draw love hearts and flowers, the girls’ trucks and cars. Most boys screw their noses up at the thought of etching out a heart or a flower, but then I persist. Other boys take their love hearts very seriously and need no further coaxing. Those boys are probably the ones set to change the patterns of love in the future. They are the ones who might seek out new relationship dynamics and boldly go where no one has gone before.
“My dream is to be a doctor and I will help people.”
Kids teach us so much about life. For instance, did you know that Barbie dolls and unicorns can destroy a zombie apocalypse? And that helping yourself win on the sly isn’t actually cheating? Moreover, kids teach us to see the world differently. Their eyes are not yet contaminated by societal conventions and cultural conditioning. They remind us of sincerity with their transparent views and their beautiful curiosity. They remind us that everything is interesting, to live in the moment and to laugh at silly things. They remind us of our humanity.
“My dream is to be a teacher and I will teach kids.”
Children’s dreams are like precious drops of light. In a world where dreams are too often squandered beneath doubt and ridicule, kids dream big and without boundaries. In a world where we’re so afraid to love, kids love fiercely, forgive easily and listen to their precious hearts.
Every other Monday I spend time with my child and the children of others. Every other Monday, I leave that classroom feeling a little bit lighter than before I arrived. If you’re looking for a different way to kickstart your creative juices, go spend some time with kids. Go play, laugh and goof around a little. Breathe life back into those dreams and believe like a child again.
If just one thing would stick with me from the time I spend with children, that would be it. To believe in those dreams with the voracity of a child again.
“My dream is to be a scientist and I will create a robot to cook me food when I’m hungry.”