I’ve decided to take a minute and dedicate this post to a special group of people.
Here goes: A big high five, a handshake, a hug and a sincere THANK YOU, to all the teachers, camp counsellors, children’s performers (and so on) who make the effort to notice the kid at the back of the crowd.
Which kid is that?
- One who is battling anxiety or depression.
- One who just moved here and doesn’t speak English very well.
- One who feels uncomfortable in large groups and is more at home with a book.
- One who doesn’t like physical confrontation and doesn’t like the pushing that happens at the front.
- One who is scared by loud noises.
- One who has been taught to be generous and to let others go first.
But still know that….
- he would also really like the corner piece of cake. You know….the one with the extra frosting and the biggest flower?
- she would really enjoy being chosen to shake a maraca during the song.
- he loves red popsicles and is tired of getting stuck with the leftover purple ones.
- she would really like to be invited to the party too.
- they could really use a friend right now.
- he deserves just as much, and maybe more, than the noisy kids shoving their way to the front.
I think we can agree that the world needs a little more gentleness, kindness and generosity, and a little less yelling, shoving and selfishness; a little less “ME FIRST!” and a little more “No, after YOU.” The kids at the back of the crowd need to know how much they mean to the world.
As an instructor or performer, it is easy to feed off the energy of noisy, enthusiastic kids. Your performance depends on them, after all.
It’s not always easy to look after the kid at the back, but it’s harder to be that kid. So, when you learn his name, give her the first balloon animal, notice his timid half-hand raise or take the time to get to know them, it sometimes means the world.
And for those that make that effort…