Every morning, I see schoolchildren, our Little America carrying their backpacks and lunches to school and laughing with their friends. Each one of them possesses great originality and hidden talents waiting to be discovered. Little America is full of energy and enthusiasm but also extremely needy. Just as we once were, they are in need of knowledge, inspiration, and a canvas for their imagination.
Who helped us when we were Little America? Think back to a time when someone taught you something that became very important to you, or that amazed you. or that changed your life. What a gift that was! Give that same gift back to the children in your life, to our Little America.
A teacher isn’t always a person who stands in front of a blackboard with a piece of chalk in their hand. A teacher can be anyone who cares about Little America.
When my daughter was younger, the neighborhood children used to come over to play and together she and I would teach them to read. We laughed and had great fun. We called it ‘playing school’ but it was really teaching.
We used to throw imagination tea parties for all the neighborhood children. The parties always started with a nature walk and as we walked, I started an imaginative story about the adventure that we were on together, allowing them to finish it any way they wanted. As they became excited about the stories they were creating, they all talked at once and at times I thought I might go deaf. This experience taught me that we don’t just need to educate but also to listen, for only by cultivating independent and original thought, we will arrive at a brilliant future.
Everyone in America can take time to teach a child. It might be a five minute conversation with a neighbor child. It might be an hour long session each evening with one of your own children. If you have ever been taught anything, you can teach it to someone else. If you have ever been listened to when you had something important to say, you can listen to a child.
And to Little America, I only have this to say.
“If someone is trying to teach you something, listen. They are trying to give you a gift.”