I help students in a Kindergarten class in the morning. This particular morning it was rainy and cold so instead of having time to play on the playground we had choice time. I engaged a group of six students to come over to my table and color paper butterflies with me. I was having a great time showing them the different patterns you could make with crayons and asking them questions. It was still the beginning of the year and I didn’t know much about the students other than their names.
Then, out of the blue, a student named Donnel polled the group to see of anyone had woken up from the storms the night before. A student responded, “Yeah, my Mom woke me up to make me go to the bathroom and I heard it, it was really loud!” There were many nodding heads agreeing with him because it was an unusually loud storm. Unexpectedly Donnel accusingly asks him, “Why does your mom wake you up?” “Do you pee the bed?”
Oh no! I think to myself. I am worried because I believe Donnel is bullying another student. We have zero tolerance for bullying but before I have time to form my words and come up with the correct response in this situation. One girl named Gaby shouts out, “I pee my pants sometimes!” and immediately goes back to her coloring project.
Before I know it, all the students at the table respond nonchalantly with some sort of, “I pee my pants sometimes too,” “Me too,” “That happens to me too,” As I try not to laugh I realize that all the students at the table agreed that they pee their pants, including the student that was bullying the other one. Maybe it is true that everything you need to know you learn in Kindergarten.
Sometimes I forget how much we all have in common. I know that at one point in my life I peed my pants and I have done many other things that I wouldn’t tell anyone about. Sometimes, all you have to do is share things that are hidden in your closet to build a relationship or community that you could have never imagined. Especially, when there was none before. Whether it be that you pee your pants, that you secretly love the Backstreet Boys, or that you were raped as a child. Admitting to something embarrassing or that is hard to talk about it not easy to do. Sometimes airing out your dirty laundry or underpants, can be a really good thing. Now, each of those students know that if they have an accident in class that there are 5 others that will say, “I pee my pants sometimes too.”
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