As I walked into the room, every eye was on me. I was invited, but not by them. I was much larger than any of them and no one knew my name. It took a few minutes for acceptance to commence, but one brave little boy finally asked me what my name was. He explained what he was struggling with and allowed me to help him sort through sight words to figure out the sentence he was trying to organize. Only a few minutes passed before they all wanted my help. They had figured out that I was Nora’s mom and that information alone, made me a welcomed addition to the classroom. It didn’t take long to get a lay of the land. I quickly assessed the personalities represented and I was drawn in! It is easy for me to feel right at home wherever I am, so I wasn’t surprised to find that I didn’t want to leave.
As I sat down on the floor, a child across the circle started telling me how smart he was and how much he did not need my help. I could see the defeat in the eyes around the circle as they realized this had just become a competition, a battle of the fittest and best. Being the peace-maker that I am, I found the classroom code of respect and brought smiles back to the rug. After all, we all have strengths and weakness… one day that sweet boy will be able to absorb that lesson with confidence. We worked diligently to get our work done and celebrated every victory won in that moment as the brave boy wrote “Come and look at the cat.” after carefully sorting out the word blocks and contemplating their correct placement. Another child, with big brown eyes, was next to ask for help. She clearly was more brilliant than she was letting on, her actions mirroring her heart as it cried out for someone to spend time with her. So I did just that. We sorted, sounded out and matched up words, getting them into her journal. Her eyes danced with pride as she became more aware of her own accomplishment. I had done nothing but support her, because that was all she needed. She needed someone to tell her that she was enough and she could complete the task at hand.
What I learned in Kindergarten today is simply this. We all desire to be KNOWN. I’m talking about the ache, deep in our hearts that wishes someone would lock eyes with us and ask our name. I’m speaking directly to the desire in each of us, needing someone to ask us how we are doing and stick around to hear our response. I’m here to remind you that even though you can do things on your own, you do not have to. You were not designed to do life alone. God created you to have friends, to be friendly, to know and to be known. What lies within you, is exactly what the world needs to be a better place.
From the painfully introverted child in the room to the most aggressive extrovert, we all shared the same innate need to be known. Their eyes beamed with pride at the recognition of a job well done, while my heart exploded with joy and broke at the realization of this unspoken truth. Today I volunteered in my daughter’s classroom and instead of teaching, I became the student.
“Deeper than knowing God is being known by God.” John Piper