40 Reflections #17: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
Kids say the darndest and deepest things.
Today while teaching a fitness class to five, six and seven year olds, I introduced obstacle courses. When asking the children to share what they already knew, most of them referred to their own back yard or America Ninja Warrior courses. Others swapped adventures to one of the many large bouncy gyms with trampolines lining the floors, ropes hanging from the ceiling, and rightly named monkey bars linking the paths together.
Then one free-spirited, blue-eyed, second grade boy shot his hand up and said, “They’re kind of like life.” My head spun around, and over the mumbling of other responses, I asked him to repeat his thought, to ensure my ears heard correctly. He said, “You know, like life. Sometimes you come up to hard parts and have to work hard to pass them, then there are the easy parts, and then the medium parts.” I asked for an example, which had obviously been brewing. “You know, like one time after I built a huge Lego set my brother ran over and smashed it. That was a hard one to get over.”
Eternally moved by the unblemished thoughts from children, I thanked him for connecting the obstacle challenge to our real lives. We moved on, with teams designing their own obstacle courses around the playground, and sharing their ideas with their classmates.
As adults, we like to believe children don’t, or rather, shouldn’t experience worldly concerns, simply weaving their day from cereal to legos, and Goldfish to Curious George.
Sadly, today’s world doles out alligator size obstacles to our children – from bullying and broken families, to trauma and loss. But much like an obstacle course on the playground, when the “hard parts” confront us, we can find a way to get through them, even if it means rebuilding the Lego Star Wars Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive.
Second graders are so smart.