They’re So Big
Thoughts & Reflections
A gift of having children return to the same classroom year after year is watching their development in broad strokes.
We observe children daily, seeing incremental changes happening all the time, presenting timely lessons as appropriate to each child’s development.
But it’s truly amazing to suddenly be struck by how much a child has changed. The tiny tentative babe who walked, or perhaps needed to be lifted, into your classroom is now a tiny grown up. How did this happen? Who are you? Where did you come from?
We have the honor of seeing a child eight hours a day, five days a week, 9 months out of the year, for three or even four years. We do not worry if today you didn’t remember the letters I showed you yesterday, or if you’re not realizing being able to zip the dressing frame in class is the same as the zipper on your coat, or if this is the eighteenth time I’ve shown you how to tidy a spill; that’s my job. That’s the whole reason I’m here: to help you. To help you as little as possible, as much as necessary, until you no longer need me.
And then, I turn around, and you no longer need me.
You are the one writing with the Moveable Alphabet, getting frustrated because your handwriting isn’t the level of perfection you’d like it to be yet.
You are sitting on the stool in the hallway, zipping up every coat that needs assistance before we go outside.
You are helping a Small Friend attend to the lake which has spontaneously emerged when dishwashing went awry, with far more patience than one could expect from a five year old, with far more patience than I remember feeling helping you with a similar lake.
Where did this magical creature come from? Because you really are magical. You are suddenly a Big Kid.
You burst into tears when I tried to show you something new, and now you’re diving headfirst into work with chains. You were tentative to try something new, now you can’t wait for the next challenge. You wanted help at the first sign of confusion, now you eagerly fill pages with imperfect handwriting, trying to get it Just So.
You are amazing. You remind me why I must always be patient, to stay the course, to believe in you. You show me why it’s so important to try, try, try again, to repeat the same way, to try a different tactic, to ask questions and to question myself — my assumptions, my expectations, my closed adult mindset.
I know all you are capable of. In my mind, I know what is possible. The world. You are this tiny acorn, and you contain within you the mightiest oak.
The most gentle helper, the most dedicated worker, the most fluent reader, the most eager mathematician. You have the potential to be all this, and a whole world of possibilities I’ve not even thought of.
The transformation happens little by little, as a child outgrows each incremental pair of shoes, as legs get longer and ankles emerge from the bottoms of pants, as teeth fall out, as speech gains clarity. It happens daily.
But there is that moment, that all-of-a-sudden slap-you-in-the-face take-your-breath-away moment when you see: You are so big.
You’ve changed so much. In that moment I can see the babe who you were, how far you’ve come. I can hardly wrap my mind around all you might become.
Written by:Charlotte Wood