Mending Hearts


This afternoon I was teaching a second grade class who had earned their game day. While sitting at my desk, I overheard a scrap of conversation between two girls that included the phrase, “said you’re not her friend anymore.” So I called both girls over, started to hear what was going on, called the third one over, more she said/she said, and I had an idea.

I took a post-it pad and gave them each a piece of paper, telling them to tear theirs up which, along with giving me puzzled looks and exclaiming to each other, “I don’t know why we’re doing this,” they did. I then gave them the tape dispenser and told them to tape the papers back together. One girl had torn hers several times, so this took a while. They asked why they were doing it but I had us wait until the third girl was done. But even before she finished, one of the girls started getting it, telling us all how the papers were our hearts and taping them back together was putting each other’s hearts back together and that this was a good thing. Taking a new paper from the pad, I had them compare their repaired papers with the one I was holding and we talked about how when we tear each other up, it is good to help repair the damage but that it is even better to never tear each other up in the first place. I told them I wanted each of their hearts to be whole like the piece of paper never torn. With that, they went off to play.

Several minutes later, I was putting books away near where two of the girls were looking at the encyclopedias, wrapped up in noticing how each book had some of the lettering running across the spines: “World Book.” They were talking about the metaphor of each of us being a part of the whole and I added we each have gifts and when we stick together in community, we can read the whole sentence. But when we harp on someone, tear someone up, we loose a part of ourselves and what we can be. I showed this by taking a book out to let them see you couldn’t read the phrase anymore. They got into this and took more books out symbolizing people who are hurt. Both girls got so excited about this new idea of each of us being a part of the larger whole, they ran off to get the third girl so she could see it too. I was so proud of them for coming up with that connection in other things around them by themselves, I didn’t even tell them to walk.

I wish I could tell all my kids we grow out of hurting one another. I wish I could tell them that all grown ups treat each other with kindness, patience, and love. But I can’t. I see too much, I hear too much, and I read too much, to know this is not the case. We talk badly about one another, we grow afraid of one another and put each other down. We are not loving. We are not kind nor are we patient. Do you know how hard it is to teach kids to love each other when the grown ups around them are so often doing just the opposite? I hear it on the radio in the news reports and sometimes I feel like I’m standing in front of a twelve foot wave trying to protect a sand castle growing in the sand.

For myself, I am trying hard to remember to be positive first. Be encouraging, celebrate the accomplishments, help them see, help them understand. Be loving. I am trying to help them understand the power of their actions. I wish adults understood the power of their words and actions. I wish more people understood how we are all connected. And I know some people do but there feels like there are so many who don’t.

I hope some of what we talked about stuck to those girls. I hope it helps them understand better who they are and how to be better friends. But even if it didn’t, I will continue to say it, hopefully do it, and pray people are listening for as one girl commented, “It’s hard to tape the paper back together.” Indeed it is my friend. Indeed it is.
Walking the Sea: Mending Hearts

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mending Hearts


This afternoon I was teaching a second grade class who had earned their game day. While sitting at my desk, I overheard a scrap of conversation between two girls that included the phrase, “said you’re not her friend anymore.” So I called both girls over, started to hear what was going on, called the third one over, more she said/she said, and I had an idea.

I took a post-it pad and gave them each a piece of paper, telling them to tear theirs up which, along with giving me puzzled looks and exclaiming to each other, “I don’t know why we’re doing this,” they did. I then gave them the tape dispenser and told them to tape the papers back together. One girl had torn hers several times, so this took a while. They asked why they were doing it but I had us wait until the third girl was done. But even before she finished, one of the girls started getting it, telling us all how the papers were our hearts and taping them back together was putting each other’s hearts back together and that this was a good thing. Taking a new paper from the pad, I had them compare their repaired papers with the one I was holding and we talked about how when we tear each other up, it is good to help repair the damage but that it is even better to never tear each other up in the first place. I told them I wanted each of their hearts to be whole like the piece of paper never torn. With that, they went off to play.

Several minutes later, I was putting books away near where two of the girls were looking at the encyclopedias, wrapped up in noticing how each book had some of the lettering running across the spines: “World Book.” They were talking about the metaphor of each of us being a part of the whole and I added we each have gifts and when we stick together in community, we can read the whole sentence. But when we harp on someone, tear someone up, we loose a part of ourselves and what we can be. I showed this by taking a book out to let them see you couldn’t read the phrase anymore. They got into this and took more books out symbolizing people who are hurt. Both girls got so excited about this new idea of each of us being a part of the larger whole, they ran off to get the third girl so she could see it too. I was so proud of them for coming up with that connection in other things around them by themselves, I didn’t even tell them to walk.

I wish I could tell all my kids we grow out of hurting one another. I wish I could tell them that all grown ups treat each other with kindness, patience, and love. But I can’t. I see too much, I hear too much, and I read too much, to know this is not the case. We talk badly about one another, we grow afraid of one another and put each other down. We are not loving. We are not kind nor are we patient. Do you know how hard it is to teach kids to love each other when the grown ups around them are so often doing just the opposite? I hear it on the radio in the news reports and sometimes I feel like I’m standing in front of a twelve foot wave trying to protect a sand castle growing in the sand.

For myself, I am trying hard to remember to be positive first. Be encouraging, celebrate the accomplishments, help them see, help them understand. Be loving. I am trying to help them understand the power of their actions. I wish adults understood the power of their words and actions. I wish more people understood how we are all connected. And I know some people do but there feels like there are so many who don’t.

I hope some of what we talked about stuck to those girls. I hope it helps them understand better who they are and how to be better friends. But even if it didn’t, I will continue to say it, hopefully do it, and pray people are listening for as one girl commented, “It’s hard to tape the paper back together.” Indeed it is my friend. Indeed it is.

4 Comments:

At January 16, 2013 at 6:59 AM , Blogger Christine said...

Beautiful, Sarah. Such a lovely sentiment to wake to this morning. Love you! - Christine

 
At January 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM , Blogger Christine said...

So beautiful, Sarah. Thanks for such a lovely sentiment to take in upon waking! Love you.

 
At January 16, 2013 at 7:01 AM , Blogger Christine said...

So beautiful, Sarah. Thanks for such a lovely sentiment for beginning the day! Love you.

 
At January 16, 2013 at 7:02 AM , Blogger Christine said...

So beautiful, Sarah. Thanks for the lovely sentiment. Love you.

 

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