THIS I BELIEVE
July 2, 2008
Through a Childs’ Eyes
Children teach us about ourselves; you will never truly know who you are until you have seen yourself through the eyes of a child. No matter what you teach a child, the kind of example you set, or even the relationship you have with them, they will teach you more about yourself them you ever thought possible. You may think you know who you are, but a child will make you see the most soul-revealing, personal-intimacies the lie within, waiting to be discovered, even things in plain view, longing to be recognized as a part of who you really are.
I recently discovered a part of me through the eyes of a seven year old boy named Alan. He was a boy I taught at a summer program in 2008. He was brilliant, but a hassle. He never wanted to start a project, but once finally convinced it was fun, he finished in mere minutes, bored and always into mischief.
I fought him when he got into things or when he wandered off. Our time together was spent threatening and punishing. I would tell him to come back to the group, get off the floor, or try to get him to do his work, but obedience rarely came with less than a fight.
I pondered him, trying to figure him out and decided to try something new, leadership-on his part. I convinced him to sit down to do an assignment about his future career. I started to ask him questions, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” or, “Have you ever imagined yourself grown up?” He drew quickly and finished in no time, he was starting to get board again. As soon as I saw he was about to through a fit and run off, I put him in charge of helping another student. He did wonderful as a leader. Alan wanted to help the other child and was doing a great job at it.
Everyone finished up and started to leave the room for the day. I was cleaning up and getting ready to leave when I turned around into the embrace of a seven year old boy. Alan, the child I had repeatedly punished for days, had his arms wrapped around my legs, smiling up at me. I put my hand on his head and smiled back.
Just then I saw it. Allen showed me that I had the ability to change lives in the smallest of ways. Alan showed me, a young girl with so many self doubts, that I could help make a difference. He showed me the patience and love I have always had was who I am. He even pulled out the determination and passion for teaching that lied deep within me.
It wasn’t until I really looked through a child’s eyes, that I found the best parts of me.