Katie’s Musings: Newness
May 18 2017
I used to nanny for this kid. I’ve probably written about him before, and I’ll probably write about him again, as much of what I know about working with kids, particularly really smart kids, I learned from him and his brother. But the important thing to know about him, other than that he is really smart, is that he was (and, from what I understand, is still) a relentlessly creative child.
To watch the kid draw or color or paint was like watching a master at work. He’d make a couple marks or color or paint a page or something, and then he’d step back to admire his handiwork from a distance, to get the scope of the picture rather than just the up-close impression. He played the violin, and I always had to fight him to get him to practice, but when he did, it was with the focus and determination of a knight facing down a foe. One summer, he discovered Garage Band and began writing his own music, tuneless and rhythmic, that made complete sense to him, if to no one else.
The kid’s handwriting was … questionable, but his story telling was imaginative and impeccable. Every day, I’d pick him up from school in slightly upstate New York, I was greeted with a smile and an absolute onslaught of stories from his day, what his friends and he got up to that day, in detail. I’d sign him out of the pick-up area and we’d walk back to my car, his hand clutching mine, his mouth moving faster than his brain, the way that little kids’ brains and mouths tend to do, and it wouldn’t stop, sometimes for hours.
And while I would love to tell you that I was always exceedingly patient and generous with the kid, I occasionally, for my own sanity, would have to find him something else to focus on. Even just for a moment or two.
One spring day, we were at violin lessons. He and his brother took turns, so while the one would be in his lesson, the other would hang out, play outside, read, etc. And the kid’s brother went first, so the kid was outside with me, talking and talking and talking and I’d had a long day, so I tried an age-old trick:
“Kid! You ever see a four-leaf clover? They’re super rare, but you never know! It’s spring! Hey…. I bet you can’t find one in the next 20 minutes!”
A cheap trick, I know, but he took the bait and began meticulously combing through the grass outside the teacher’s house.
I settled back in my car and closed my eyes, ready for a few minutes of peace and quiet, when I heard a slight knock at the door. I look up.
There stands the kid. A big grin on his face, proudly holding the most giant, perfect four-leaf clover I’ve ever seen.
And that showed me!
The kids at First Central have begun a new unit all about newness. Springtime newness, embracing new ideas, sharing new information, looking at the world in a new way, etc. It occurs to me that it’s a little bit silly: kids are naturally way better at recognizing new things than we adults are. They have had less years in the world for their perceptions of it to be boxed in concretely. But nevertheless, it is newness we will examine! Flowers, general springiness, and ways in which God reveals Godself to us in newness. That’s a little trick of God’s, I think – using new things to get our attention, and be all like,
Look at all this new stuff.
And I love you.
And I’m with you.
Wishing you a wonderful week, full of new springtime things for you to enjoy!