Monday, October 10, 2016

When They Blow Our Minds

As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has -- or ever will have -- something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.  ~Mister Rogers

Every parent knows her child is a genius. It's in the nature of our progeny to blow our minds, to put us in touch with the irrepressible miraculousness of life. And these parents are not delusional: their children are, in fact, geniuses. As a teacher of young children, I can honestly say that I've never met one who is not.

Of course, I'm not talking about "genius" only in the narrow Einstein sense, although that's included in the definition, but rather in the broader idea that each one of them -- indeed, each one of us -- has something that that sets us apart and above. Some parents can't help boasting, while others remain quietly humble, but each of them arrives in my life knowing and loving the genius of their own child, and that's exactly how it should be.

One of the things I love most about being a teacher in a cooperative school where the parents work in the classroom alongside me as assistant teachers is that while they all come into the classroom fully aware of their own child's genius, as time goes on, as they get to know the other children as individual humans, as collaborators in the community we are building together, they come to also recognize the genius in each of these other children as well. Almost every day, an adult will say to me, the light of epiphany in her eyes, "Guess what Sally just did?" or "Did you hear what Johnny said?" 

As I get older, I find myself increasingly convinced that we are here for only one purpose, and that is to look for the genius in the other people and then, even more importantly, to let them know not only that we see it, but that it blows our minds.

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