A plant can grow in a rock. That’s one of my favorite discoveries. This is good to remember if we mistakenly squelch a child’s spirit, and fear that our careless action has ruined them for life.
Last week I rode a non-airconditioned midday bus packed with 65% suffering adults, and 35% students fleeing their first day of school. The weather was stiffling in the mid-90′s, and the adults were keeping as still as possible, except for polite wiping of brows. I scrambled towards the back of the bus hoping to escape the claustrophobic front pack that worsened with each stop.
A nice surprise back there was getting a ‘front-row’ view to the antics of a quartet of pre-teenage boys sandwiched single-file in the aisle, who were poking each other in wild attempts to inflict the most friendly pain possible. I was fascinated to see their performance with the precision of a fighter jet formation swooping through hair-raising maneuvers in an airshow. They would collide and fly in all directions, but, seasoned fighters that they were, would breeze within inches of all the bystanders, without actually touching anyone. They proudly stayed in the narrow performance bandwidth of causing the most trouble, without getting thrown off the bus.
As expected, some of the adults were annoyed. One lady kindly tried to reprimand them into stillness. But, I was delighted to see that a few adults, like me, were highly amused with these boys’ innovative solutions for letting off their school-suffering steam in such close quarters. No ipods, gameboys, or electronic anything. Just a flowing series of split-second pokes and pushes, revealing a clear pecking order, strong personalities, and high athletic abilities worthy of black-belt martial arts, while the onlooking adults shared knowing glances.
This brought back warm memories of “my guys”, the boy-quartets of my childhood, and I silently cheered these guys on with the same admiration. I nodded to the boys and said to my fellow travellers “And this is our future…”, hoping that everyone saw that as positively as I did.
In honor and love of Ruby, our best-loved bus-bully, as we cheer him on to speedy and sensational success in his current battle.
“The adult must find within himself the still unknown error that prevents him from seeing the child as he is.” Maria Montessori