Five years old is the best age, hands down. Being a kindergartener gives you license to be carefree and nonjudgmental. You are best friends with the world, and your biggest concern is what is for lunch. As a five year old, meeting someone new is exciting and an opportunity to make a new friend. You don’t care what they look like; all you are concerned with is what game to play with them. I believe that people should be more like five year olds, and embrace new people without judgment.
I volunteered at a kid’s day camp this summer and worked as a leader in training. When I arrived at orientation, I saw the other leaders in training and suddenly became self conscious. I knew that they wouldn’t like me and we wouldn’t get along. We all introduced ourselves, and on the outside, I was calm and polite. But on the inside, I was wary about my new job. We played ice breaker games and the atmosphere became more comfortable, but I still felt that I didn’t have anything common with the other leaders. I remember thinking that I would be working alone for the next month. I left the orientation with a nervous knot in my stomach.
On the first day of camp, I was just as nervous as the campers. I had been assigned to a group of six kindergarten boys, and my vicious thoughts of self doubt and cautiousness returned. What if they don’t like me? What if they are too clingy? What if they don’t like each other and will be constantly fighting? My thoughts vanished as I approached the group. I spotted my campers and already they were laughing and coloring together. When I greeted them and introduced myself, they smiled shyly and asked if I wanted to color with them. I knew that they had been nervous upon arrival but once they joined the group, they left all inhibitions behind. I began to realize that kindergarteners were the ones who understood how to make new friends. My little campers had shown me that I didn’t have to meet new people with a wall around myself. As we get older, we tend to lose our faith in other people and let got of the possibility of becoming friends with someone who is different. Five year olds still trust that they will make friends with anyone, no matter how different they are from them.
Later that day, there was a leader in training meeting and I decided to just be myself. It didn’t matter that we had different interests or ideas. As camp went on, I actually became good friends with the other leaders in training. I was wrong to begin our friendships with doubt, because we celebrated our differences. I believe now in the cliché of not judging a book by its cover, and reading the first chapter instead. While my campers didn’t exactly read the whole chapter, at least they skimmed the page!
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