the carrot whisperer

Working with young children is a privilege. As educators, we are privileged to witness learning, to witness trust, to witness friendship, and - usually - to witness many many undocumented moments daily. Sometimes the moments are fleeting, surprising, touching, humorous, powerful, outlandish, sincere.
Sometimes the moments are ones that linger for years and years...
because of the quietness, because of the beautiful quietness.

Katrina whispered her carrot to life.

I was sitting at the art table during mid-day rest time. The art table doubled as the teacher desk when children were not using it because it was the biggest surface to work on. That year, I was working in the oldest classroom of 4s and 5s at a full-day child care center. Some children went home right after lunch, some children stayed all day and took a rest, and some children arrived at school during this hour.  
I had already helped the full day children get comfortable on their mats to rest or read books. We put George Winston on the tape player and the mood of the room was peaceful and cozy.
I started working at the art table, further documenting some of the childrens work from the morning, and quietly unpacking some new supplies that arrived. A few minutes into rest time, my five-year-old friend Christina arrived with her mother. Her mother gave a silent wave and smile to say hello as she signed Christina in at the entry. I got up to meet Christina at the door and walked her back to the table with me. 
Usually, Christina didn't want to rest. Usually, Christina sat with me at the art table, doing quiet art work, drawing, writing, painting, or looking at books for about half an hour until her friends started to get up from their rest time.
There I was, doing some writing, and glancing over to Christina to give her a smile and nod of "how are you doing?"

Christina, having been quite busy with her crayons and paper for many minutes,
gently nudged her chair closer to mine, 
always being politely quiet to let her friends still rest. 
Christina then leans so close to me,
cups her hand toward my ear and whispers...
"I know how to make a need orange, green and brown."


I see Christina's face every time I share this story. Her hair was straight brown and her smile would crinkle when she was pleased with something. Her eyes were very deep brown and had a sparkle because she loved life and her family and school and her friends.
Christina's sharing of her carrot knowledge is lovely to me because it is so simple. It is so simple yet powerful enough to hang in the air long after it occurred. It is similar to when you see a child learn to balance on a two wheel bike or catch a ball or swim across the pool. You don't need a camera for these moments because they are lodged in your memory. To be a witness to knowledge and skill is such a privilege. To have children offer such knowledge directly to me, well, that is a uniquely stunning and quiet gift because it stops time for the actual moment it is happening. Who knew that a whisper about a carrot could stop time?  [smile].

1 comment:

  1. sometimes it's what is under the surface, like a carrot, that counts.... and sometimes it's something right in front of us. The trick is to be able to see (it).


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