Monday, December 04, 2017

Turning "Me" Into "We"



"We need to move this bench." She said it out of the blue to no one in particular. It's a piece of furniture made from wrought iron and wood, so not by any means light weight. Not only that, but it's been in the same spot for months. She began to wrestle with the bench as the rest of us watched her.


After a few seconds, two other girls joined her. Together they were able to wrest it from its position and lift it off the ground. She said, "We need to move this bench up there." She pointed vaguely toward the top of the playground, indicating an area near the gate. Without speaking, they began to shuffle in that direction. As they did, another girl joined them. Now there were four of them wrestling with the bench.


It was an unwieldy process. It wasn't the weight, which was something the four of them could easily manage, but rather the awkwardness of coordinating four sets of feet. "We need to rest," she said, and with that they put the bench down.


After a minute or so she said, "We need to move this bench," and together they lifted it, this time joined by yet another girl choosing to be included in her "we." They shuffled up the hill until they came to the top. There was some discussion now about exactly where the bench should go.


"We should put it here."

"No, we should put it over there a little more."

"Maybe we can move it back a little."

Once they had decided on the spot, the girl who started it all said excitedly, "Now we can sit on it!"


It's not magic, of course, but it always strikes me that way when young children begin to discover the power of turning "me" into "we."

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