How Little Girls Learn

Stacia - Washington, District of Columbia
Entered on March 16, 2009

I believe in those hand-made necklaces that children (specifically, little girls) so diligently string together on one almost-endless strand of nylon. “One round pink bead, one square purple bead, one white piece of glass, and then… well then… why not a shell next?,” she thinks.

I believe her little fingers will remember what it feels like to create something new from pieces of something else.

I believe if she chooses to place it around her own neck she will wear it with pride (even though she has no idea what the word “pride” means).

I believe when she says: “Look Mommy, I made this,” she will know joy.

Similarly, I believe that if she strings those beads together with someone else in mind—her grandma, her aunt, her current “best friend”—then she creates this necklace out of pure love, and it will bring happiness into her heart and to the lucky soul who receives this gift.

I believe that through the simple act of sitting almost still to undertake a task, she listens quietly to herself, trusts her voices, and rests.

I believe that having a table and a chair on which to work helps her feel at home in her space, comfortable with her own placement in the room, in the world.

I believe she knows instinctively that running and necklace-making do not go hand-in-hand, just as later, when she learns to drive, she will know that pressing the gas and brake pedals simultaneously does not either.

I believe she discovers that there can be “do-overs.” Beads can be placed and then removed and re-placed—entire necklaces can be dismantled and reconstructed. And she will learn that all she lost was time, and what is time to a child anyway?

I believe that her necklace (and its making) will survive her older brother crashing through the room with a soccer ball; it will survive her being asked to clean up for dinner; it will survive her leaving it in the craft box—mostly forgotten—for days, even weeks. Then I believe she will understand that nothing is gone forever, that she can come back to it, finish it when she is ready or start all over again or even move on, away, forward.

I believe in the hand-made beaded necklaces of little girls, and I believe in the little girls…

And by extension (or by providence), I believe in the tiny lessons that every minute of every day holds for little girls, big girls, little boys, and big boys alike