Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Only Way To Get There Is On Our 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 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 in my youth and early adult-hood, 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 14 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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Weena said...

I'm smiling as I read your blog. I don't have torn jeans yet but I know it will happen very soon:) I kneel at Circle Time, Work Time, Free Choice.... I walk on my knees too.

Grace said...

I kept on wondering why the knees of my jeans were wearing out so soon, and then realized that since my son started crawling I've been spending a lot more time on the floor, on my knees. Kids are awesome.

Males in Early Childhood said...

It's a shame our bodies continue to grow old while the mind remains young. Someone needs to get the message to our joints to lighten up a bit.

It's been nearly 15 years since my daughter was born & over 12 since my son & I remember being on the floor alot too.

LeeanneA said...

LOL this cracks me up! I tell people all the time - I never dress fancy, because I'd rather be down on the floor with my toddlers! I don't ever want to put the quality of my clothing before the needs of a child! Painted fingers, snotty noses and sometimes a little pee and poo may get on me from time to time!

Lesley@early play said...

I have been working in early childhood for over 25 years and now being told my hips won't take "floor time" by drs who say 'just sit in a chair'. they don't get it and it makes me so sad. I think it is the main thing I love - getting down and being with those kids.

Evangeline S. said...

This post (and your whole blog) makes me smile.

My partner and I are both preschool teachers. I remember back when he started teaching telling me about how all his pants wore out and he'd find little hands rubbing his knees or pulling on the threads on the holes.

Since he's worn out all his jeans and gone onto Carrhart pants that have a double layer of fabric in the knees (meant for bricklayers, and such).

Also, we did a little bit of "paint skiing" at school today and had a blast. Thanks for the inspiration.

Teacher Tom said...

Ha! Evangeline! I wear Carharts now as well, although I'm almost all the way through a pair of the double knees! I really am considering volleyball knee pads.