The air is abuzz with “first day of school ” stories.
Sometimes the stories come riddled with tears and fears. (And this can be as true for the new teachers as for new students). Sometimes stories tumble over each other in a long stream of “and then, and then, and…..” Sometimes moments are retold that make your heart melt.
No matter the emotion, or the circumstance, stories abound for a reason.
Stories entertain us. Stories connect us. Stories help us make sense of experiences. So as the teachers, parents and other adults, who are shaping future generations, we should encourage all story telling.
What better way to empower a child and to confirm that he or she matters than to listen to what he or she has to say. To acknowledge that each one of us has something to offer the world and that every person has skills, talents, and visions worth celebrating. (For a fabulous blog about How people know they matter read this post from Angela Maiers.)
Listening to the stories is crucial but it is equally important to think about what stories you are sharing. When sharing your own personal stories – and what better gift can you offer the young but stories of your own perspective – help the child understand that it is but one story from one point of view. Even in the same class at school, or in the same family, everyone will have a different account of the same moment.
Understanding that multiple perspectives exist, can be a world-rocking concept! To realize that you might perceive a situation entirely differently from someone else is one way to walk in other people’s shoes.
Stories are a great way to get to temporarily try on other people’s shoes. Especially when combined with an explicit discussion of windows and mirrors. ( I will talk more about how to use windows and mirrors and first day of school books next post). It is our job to make sure we are providing as many multiple perspectives and windows and mirrors in the stories we tell, the stories we buy, and the stories that line our shelves. It’s the only way we can give everyone a fair shot at understanding and celebrating our rich diverse world.
Feel free to share your first day of school stories. I would love to hear other perspectives on this exciting age-old ritual.