Wednesday, October 21, 2009

As Long As You’re Down On Your Knees

It doesn't matter how you worship, as long as you're down on your knees. --Leonard Cohen

All of my jeans look like this:

Apparently, I spend a lot of time on my knees. Whenever I stand or sit on my bottom in class while wearing my jeans, before I know it, little fingers are caressing my kneecaps or fiddling with the dangling threads.

Children shouldn’t have to crane their necks and shout to talk to the adults, at least not while in school, their school. I stand to move from place to place, but otherwise strive to stay on the childrens’ level, eye-to-eye. I now live with permanent damage to my shoulder from throwing so many baseballs, especially water-logged ones, but that’s okay because now that I can’t throw a lot of baseballs, I don’t need to. I’m now doing the same thing to my knees, I suppose, dropping down on them over and over; crawling around at my age. I’m thinking of borrowing a pair of our daughter Josephine’s volleyball kneepads. Maybe I could get a bunch and color coordinate them with my sneakers.

When Josephine was born 13 years ago, the world below the knees was re-opened to me. I experienced it at first as a distantly familiar place, like in those movies where the adult is suddenly transported back into the imaginary adventure land of his youth. As children, we’re intimate with the view from underneath tables, but as our bodies grow into a world built for adults, we leave it behind only to revisit it with our kids, or if we’re one of the lucky ones like me, with our students.

There was a time when I always played on the floor, read on the floor, slept on the floor, watched TV on the floor. I still remember the odd spring system visible on the underside of the love seats in our family room. The “room” under my bed was as familiar to me as any other room in the house. We played in the crawl space; it was one of our forts.

It’s the special world of young children. We’re only visitors there. And the only way to get there is on our knees.

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MOM #1 said...

So sweet. I remember those years with Baby Boy when knee-walking was in high fashion around here. Now I spend more time on my tippy-toes, hopping up and down, and dragging a step stool from place to place because he's almost a full foot taller than I am.

Love those knee memories, though. ;-)

Floor Pie said...

Sylvia: "Teacher Tom's pants was broken."

Anonymous said...

I'm always spending a good part of my day on the floor, it is kind of fun.

Unknown said...

One time after graduating from college and experiencing my first teaching job an old professor asked me to come and speak to her class. I didn't speak much, but I did have all of the girls (there were no boys in the program) get on their knees and spend time looking around our college learning environment. I wanted them to see how important it was to make things inviting and warm on their level.

Viewing the world they view the world is VITAL to teaching success.

kristin said...

oh, the world is graced by your presence.