After a quiet three-day weekend, it was especially heartwarming to return to the Seed. This time of year when spring is deciding whether or not “winter” is over is particularly delightful. With warmer early mornings, activity options expand. A small group of toddlers learning to blow bubbles on Tuesday morning demonstrated this point. Eight young children gathered around the picnic table, eager to have a turn dipping into the sudsy solution, then trying to make a bubble. Some seemed satisfied just to watch, or to simply hold their bubble wands. Others became full-on bubble makers. Their engagement was visible, as well as their patience. For a group of toddlers, it was actually quite remarkable.
Moments like this are everywhere when we train ourselves to pause and create space for our eyes to see them. As staff members, it’s a practice we take on with sincere intention. It happens while observing the progress of individual children with their academic or social growth. Supervising random interactions in the sand circle or Gwen’s Castle provides frequent noteworthy moments. Special projects initiated by parent participants can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. When we practice seeing with our eyes in this way, our hearts join in to enhance the process. And it’s not just at the Seed.
Recently, one of our Seed alum parents suggested to my husband that we might want to watch a series on Netflix called The Kindness Diaries (http://www.leonlogothetis.com/books/#book-the-kindness-diaries). Once we started watching, it was hard to stop. The series features a man who initiated a project to travel around the world with no money, depending solely on the kindness of others for food, gasoline for his motorbike, and shelter. In each segment there was always one generous person, often with hardly anything to give, who showed him the most kindness. Because of their kindness, he and his film crew would surprise that person with a gift. The gifts ranged from a new house to the purchase of a cow, covering the costs of eye surgeries for 100 people, or paying full school tuition for a man’s two young children. The expressions on the recipients’ faces were extraordinary.
What the series reinforced was the power of training the eye and heart to see beyond the surface of a situation. Additionally, it taught me that wonderful things are happening for us to see when we take time to slow down and actually notice. It’s something we do as teachers and we pass it along to our students. When we practice using at least some of our time in this way, what we receive from it is often profound. Modeling this process to our children is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can offer them.