Lessons from Little People

by Arlene Birt


Giving

Caleb handed me a tiny scrap as he walked past. I wondered why he was giving me this trash. He muttered, “Look inside.” I unfolded it to find a note he had written, “I luve you.” Not trash after all, but a treasure!

Today I received an interesting gift from a student. The sparkly red gift bag contains two envelopes made of calendar pictures and tape, lots of wide tape. Inside one envelope is a manger scene scrawled on the back of her brother’s spelling paper. The other envelope contains a project made of two recycled papers fastened together. One side has several cut-out pictures stuck to it with tape, lots of wide tape. The other side says, “I love uoy Miss Bert.” Also in this sparkly red gift bag is a little purse, a faded cloth purse, about the right size for a doll. The purse is packed full of treasures for me – a clementine wrapped up in Saran wrap AND foil “so it doesn’t leak,” two granola bars, a little ball and paddle toy, some handmade cloth items (pockets perhaps?) and a hand-stitched quilt, with half-inch long stitches. There is also a pen and partially used pad of list paper. I am not making fun of this gift—I treasure it, knowing that the giver “luves” me and invested a lot of time and effort into the gift, giving some of her own treasures.

Lesson learned: Share generously and give of your own treasures. Give of your time and efforts. Give the gift of words (even if they’re misspelled!).

Attitude

Carter had a little packet of powdered drink mix to add to his water bottle at lunch time. He tried to open the packet and couldn’t get it. He asked me to help, but before I could, he got it open. Well, partly open—it was slit straight down in the middle so the powder wouldn’t come out easily. Carter decided to cut it open and helped himself to my scissors. They cut too quickly, causing the packet to slip out of his hands, and spill on the floor. I was impressed with his response—he did not yell or get mad or frustrated. He was very calm and collected, knelt on the floor, and started gathering up the powder with his fingers! A very tedious job. I offered to help, and using a spoon was able to save much of the drink mix for him. He happily added it to his water bottle, shook it up and drank it all.

Lesson learned: How do I respond when things get messed up, when things fall apart, or don’t go my way? Can I “go with the flow,” staying calm, and working things out?

Contentment

“Here’s a cracker for you. Here’s candy for you. A cracker for you, and candy for you…”

Thus began the lesson on Joseph, as I handed out this snack, giving some children a plain Saltine cracker while others got Starburst candies. Some children seemed a little surprised with what they were given, but no one complained. My lesson plan states that the teacher will probably hear protests from those who get crackers, but to just ignore them. After handing out the snack, I asked, “How many of you felt like this when you got your snack?” as I held up a smiley face. Every child said they felt happy! Next I asked how many felt like this as I held up a frowny face. No one said they felt sad/mad about it. I commented that I had expected those with crackers to feel sad/mad. Kevin said, “I was just glad to have a snack!” We discussed the envy that Joseph’s brothers had, and how we too may feel envious. After this, each child got the opposite snack, so that everyone had both crackers and candy. We talked about how all good things come from God, about being glad for others, and about thinking of our blessings.

Lesson learned: Be thankful for what I have and be glad for others in their blessings. This made me think about my attitude and responses—am I just glad to have ______________, or am I getting sad/mad or envious? When a frustration or disappointment comes, I will try to think of something I’m just glad to have.

Pass it on:


CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt

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