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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The honesty of a child.

Lessons Learned

The Honesty Of A Child

It was a winter day and a bitterly cold one at that. Germs, viruses, and all sorts of sick bugs were swirling through the hallways of our school and every other school and mall and grocery store far and near. Although cough drops, tissues, diligent hand washing, lots of water and extra vitamin C were the order of each day, despite our collective best efforts to ward off the germ attack, we were indeed stricken. Substitute teachers were fearlessly answering the 6AM phone calls and keeping very busy in the classrooms of teachers whose tired immune systems fell victim to virulent bugs ruthlessly on the rampage. Hanging on to health with extra early bedtimes, UnderArmour as every day wear, lots of hot tea with honey, and some good cold weather genes from the Swedish side of the family, I was feeling very thankful. Then the cold sore appeared. There is nothing discrete about a cold sore, and no matter how carefully or artfully one tries to conceal its presence, to not notice a cold sore is to simply be polite at best.  The Emperor’s New Clothes comes to mind as we attempt to ignore someone’s cold sore. We cast our eyes in another direction, continue our conversations, and tiptoe around the elephant in the living room or on our face.  I thought the concealer covered by two shades of cleverly applied lipstick had done the trick and apparently my four consecutive classes of older students felt the same way, but then came the kindergartnersKindergartners are just plain honest. They suffer from no need for political correctness nor do they weigh their words to manipulate toward their agendas, they simply see something and then say something, unfiltered. Beautiful really, their honesty, which delightfully narrates life as it flashes before them.  They came into class, sat in their places, and immediately a hand shot up which was completely typical as kindergartners are always full of stories of pets, or teeth, or new shoes, or any lovely random but important topic in the moment.  Yes, Ryan, do you have something to share? What is that thing on your face? There it was. The truthful question. No malice or humiliation intended at all. Something wasn’t right and his inquisitive heart desired an answer. It’s a cold sore. Oh, do you get that when you have a cold? Maybe. Does it hurt? Not really. Okay.  And then we were on to our next task.  Curiosity satisfied. When do we lose that? When do we learn to become so very careful and calculated with our words that we forego ever really saying what we mean or truly expressing how we feel? And why? Sometimes honesty may sting for a moment, but then it’s done and the air is cleared.  Children have this right, but then somewhere along the way they learn to artfully conceal; we all do. We all become the townsfolk who line the street as the emperor begins his walk.  If you were the emperor would you appreciate the honesty of the child?