Friday, June 1, 2012

Kindergarten Graduation

(all pictures posted with permission)

There's a scripture that counsels all of us to "become as a little child." I used to think I knew what that meant, but I didn't. It wasn't until my teaching career began that I truly understood.  After the first month of the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) that came with starting my first year of teaching, I was able to refocus myself on the pure love and trust I felt from those 18 little sweeties through their 50 hugs and "I Love You's" every day. 

My kiddos graduated today (our last day of school)...

...and I sent them off into the world to be big first graders. When they look back, I'm positive they will remember certain things, such as:


All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:
  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don't hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Of course, considering the many things they learned in Kindergarten, I'm positive that I learned more from them about what it means to become as a "little child": They BEFRIEND without judgment, they APOLOGIZE when they've made a mistake, they ENJOY helping others succeed, they LAUGH more than they talk each day, they TRUST without questioning, they treat everyone as EQUAL, and they LOVE without hesitation.

(A note I found taped on the inside of my desk last week)
 ----from a little girl who comes from a sad situation at home, and thus had a hard time behaving this year, until she finally believed me when I kept telling the entire class as the bell rang everyday, "Remember, Mrs. Mohlman LOVES you!!" Once she knew I loved her unconditionally,and that she could trust me...she loved back, and hid this in my desk as a surprise for me. It remains there still and always will to remind me of that love every time I open my desk drawer.

When I look back on this year, I'll remember teaching them how to read and write, and solve simple addition problems:

...but mostly, I'll remember this:

(from a cute little guy who is repeating Kindergarten next year to learn his alphabet better)

 (Another note from the same sweet girl mentioned earlier).
After months of my repeating "Remember Mrs. Mohlmans Loves you!"... she wrote me this note, on our final day of school and switched the words around to now remind me that I am loved.

What a Year, what a year! I have learned a lot; about Teaching, about Love, and about 'Becoming as a Little Child."