Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Elementary School (07/19/04)
TITLE: Elementary aged school children: A fascinating group of people
By Jan Warrick
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Because of their tender age, most of these children are innocent and naïve. They have just enough knowledge to try to figure out the world around them, and in so doing, make hilarious leaps of logic. I will never forget the day I was explaining to my girls the route we would be driving to Grandma’s house. I mentioned that we would be driving down an interstate. My youngest asked me, “Mom, what is an interstate?” Before I had a chance to answer, my oldest daughter, age nine, explained that “innerstates” were states like Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. She continued her explanation by saying that “outerstates” were states like Washington, Oregon and California. Got to give her credit. She used the knowledge she had to try to figure out the new word put before her, and, she wasn’t afraid to try.
Though they are naïve, they do come up with profoundly wise times that can humble any “all knowing” adult. One year, my husband and I bought our kids a basketball hoop for Christmas. Not one of those hoops you can nail just above the garage door. This was a fancy hoop, one with wheels so you could put it anywhere. What’s more, you could raise and lower the hoop on a hydraulic system. Of course these things don’t come fully assembled, you have to put it together yourself. We struggled to build this thing for hours, but were stuck and unable to complete putting it together. Sweating and tired my husband and I sat defeated before our nemesis. One of our kids came up and said, “I know how to do this.” Incredulous, I looked at our little girl. Here were two intelligent adults, with college degrees and many years of life experience unable to put this monstrosity together and she thinks she can do it???? We both looked at her and said, “Fine. Try.” She had the problem figured out in about fifteen seconds. In one fell swoop, she had the basketball hoop built and her parents egos deflated.
Kids this age also believe what they are taught and try desperately to apply it to their lives. Their ability to do the right thing no matter what obstacles get in their way amazes me. We have always taught our children to be kind and courteous to everyone. But, when my youngest girl was in second grade, one of her classmates continually harassed her. She came home day after day complaining about Marissa. After a few weeks I got tired of hearing about this child. I finally told my daughter, “Look, you have been nice to Marissa for a long time now and she is still mean to you. You are just going to have to tell her off and tell her never to talk to you again.” My daughter looked at me with surprise and said, “No mommy, that is not right. I am going to make her my friend.” Within a few weeks Marissa was her friend. Humbly, I realized that my daughter was able to apply God’s word to her life more consistently than I could as an adult. And I was considered her teacher? Not in this case.
So I ask again, have you ever stopped long enough to observe this unique set of human beings? Have you ever noticed their innocent approach to life? If not, stop, watch and talk to a child this age. You may be surprised at what you come away with.
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