Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Two Small Stories Of Compassion

Yesterday, a two-year-old girl wanted her mommy. She was standing by the door crying, trying to turn the knob. Her mother often sits out there in the hallway on a bench, catching up on email or whatever, wanting to give her daughter some experience with being out in the world without her, but also wanting to remain nearby for just these moments. When we opened the door, however, mommy wasn't there.

She had just run out to her car, but it was upsetting nevertheless. We looked for her for a couple minutes, then returned to the classroom. I sat on the floor. I offered my arms, I offered a hug, I offered to pick her up, but was rebuffed as the girl continued to cry and call out for mommy.

I was echoing things like, "You miss your mommy." The crying had attracted another two-year-old girl who had followed us into the hallway. She studied us for a moment, then gently took the crying girl by the shoulders, looked directly into her teary eyes, and said, "Mommies go bye-bye then they come back when we sing boom-boom." When the girl kept crying, she said it again with emphasis.

"Boom-boom" is a reference to the song we sing at the end of the day. It was one of the most wise and compassionate things I'd ever seen.

Later, I was on the playground with a couple of two-year-old boys playing with trucks. One of them lifted his truck and accidentally hit his playmate in the forehead. It didn't look like a serious bump, but the victim disagreed. His face wrinkled with pain as he cried. I don't know if the either boy knew what had caused the crying, it had all happened in a flash, but just as the girl had done earlier, a two-year-old saw a friend in pain and took responsibility for helping him, putting a hand on the injured boy's shoulder, stroking it, and sitting with him until the crying stopped.

I'm humbled that I get to spend my days with these people.

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