On Friday, a group of kids took over the art room to make pillows and stuffed animals. They pulled me in to fix the sewing machine (again), and while there, I helped the seven-year-old redraw and cut out the pattern for the stuffed bear. As I showed her how to put the pins in to hold the two sides together, I said, "this is going to be a little more difficult to sew than a regular pillow because there are a lot of curves." She looked straight at me and said with a cheeky grin, "I always enjoy a good challenge." I just had to grin back at her.
After a few miss starts and receiving some assistance sewing around said curves of the arms and legs - she is thrilled with her (slightly wonky) stuffed bear that will get some facial features (personality) and clothing on Monday.
That afternoon, I peeked into the art room to find this same seven-year-old standing next to the sewing machine and patiently teaching the fifteen-year-old how to sew. Then, later on, the ten-year-old.
This story is about a particular seven-year-old; however, you could easily replace the seven with one, two, three, four, five, six, and occasionally an eight. We know that learning is absolutely natural but once these kiddos become integrated into our culture through indoctrination of the system - a good portion of them quickly lose all of that "boldness" and self-confidence.
In traditional school, kids often learn their curiosity is a burden to the adults who have to answer the never-ending questions (there simply isn't time in the day) and that mistakes are something to avoid at all costs. They need to fit in - not make waves - sit still and "shut up." These naturally inquisitive (wild) authentic beings are squished into conformity, compliance, and blind obedience.
At DRC, we find this to be true - by the time a child is nine or ten, they often come to us reserved and hugely afraid of making mistakes. They apologize constantly and are fearful of saying what they are interested in or taking on anything that is new or challenging. A few are actually mute.
This is why I celebrated this past week when a teen filled and turned on the electric kettle and made his own ramen alone for the very first time. When I congratulated him with a fist bump - he just stood there with a big grin of pride on his face.
It never gets old. Over this past year, I have watched this teen - who had been so fearful of screwing up that his apologies for asking clarifying questions were profuse - transform into one who confidently makes his own lunch and takes a couple of younger kids under his wing. To say it is awe-inspiring isn't enough to describe the goosebumps and tears that prick at the corners of my eyes every damn time.
Weekly Creative Meditation
We will be holding Open Houses at both Centers in December. Save the dates. Plan on joining us to meet our kiddos and bring all your questions for our Staff and Board.
Both Centers had a great time celebrating Halloween. The DRC- Canton Peeps honored Dia de los Meurtos - as well.
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