I made children happy today. 8th graders got to try out their jazz possibilities playing Boom Chick a Boom with complete freedom to stumble and fall and get up and try again, complete joy when they found the groove. 1st graders tried their hand at Rain Rain Go Away and then discovered that they could play melodic patterns just by listening to me singing something like “Do Re- Mi-Re-Do” and finding it on the xylophone. And one little boy caught my attention and I asked him to do it alone and he did, magnificently and I kept feeding him harder and harder patterns while 30 teachers watched breathlessly how his negotiated his way through those multiple pathways, hesitated once and then came out triumphant. Apparently this boy does not speak in class, but some public praise of his grand intelligence was thawing the frozen fear of his grandfather’s constant criticism (something I found out later). Like I said, I made children happy today and of course, they made me even happier.
By contrast, my mild excitement about returning to Facebook was most definitely marred by finding out about the next school shooting in the good ole U.S.A. 18 this year and we’re not even done with February. Is anyone noticing?
Well, certainly my Facebook friends are, but it is sobering beyond my capacity to endure to read comments on their posts from people so thoroughly brainwashed that they still insist that it’s important that we all are armed to the teeth and God bless the NRA. I can’t think of anything more likely to wake people up from their slumber about who we have become that the epidemic of mass murders of innocent schoolchildren. And still they tow the party line, the Repugnantcans offer their useless “prayers” and the NRA marches on untouched. It’s beyond insanity. What kind of human being has hardened his heart to the point that they can’t see beyond their politics to the unendurable pain and grief of massacring our own children? What kind of human being has been brought up with so little love and welcome that they plan the assault and pull the trigger? What kind of sub-species continues manufacturing and selling assault weapons beyond any reasonable need or purpose beyond profit?
Meanwhile, I continue my commitment to meet children anywhere in the world, let them know in the first five seconds that I welcome them, know them and thus, am ready to love them. I see familiar faces and characters everywhere I go, different inflections of the universal child. And I also know that no two faces or characters are exactly alike and set to work helping them uncover their particular form of genius. My grief is knowing that none of this is enough to save the children’s lives in Florida, my joy is knowing that every such encounter is a step toward the child’s future kindness, beauty and compassion. My unequivocal NO! to the NRA and its apologists, to teachers who shame children, to parents who constantly criticize and put down their children, to lawmakers who don’t bring the children on to the debate floor and give them their voice to speak for their future, it all feels necessary, but so small and powerless. My unequivocal YES! To the opposite of the above is likewise small, but there is power there and perhaps the only kind of power that can bring lasting change.
I made children happy too. And they made me happy too.
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