My students are all colouring pictures of teddy bears which they have all coincidentally named after themselves. I am standing in front of them trying to re-cap a lesson we have just finished on healthy living. A visit by two public health nurses, one teddy bear clinic and seven booklets of information later, we are at that point of the day where teacher and students are all waiting for the recess bell to ring. So, out of curiosity, I quiz them on what the highlights of the morning were and try to figure out if they retained any of the valuable information imparted by these two most knowledgeable ladies.
We talk about how food and exercise and sleep are important factors in healthy living, and then I get the bright idea of making a practical application to today’s review. I stand up and say to the students: “Look at Mrs. Gard’s head…is it bigger than yours?” “Yes,” they all say, “Your head is bigger.” So, I proceed to tell them that my head is bigger because I am older and have more things that I think about inside my head, and that I have fed my brain with healthy foods so as to grow it to this size.
One little guy takes a look at me and he says this: “You also have more lines across your forehead than we all do, so that means you are older.”
Ooomph…deflate my balloon. Blasted wrinkles!
You gotta love the absolute, unabashedly honest answers that come out of a five-year old’s mouth. If we could all only be so transparent!
I have been thinking about transparency. I strive to lay it all on the line when I write, and in doing so, I take great risks: the risk that people may misinterpret my writing, the risk that some may judge me, the risk that some may label me as too happy or too sad, too sarcastic or too saccharine. And on and on it goes. And I realize that we are not to care what others think about us, but let’s be real. Of course we do. We care because inside us all is a place that craves acceptance and understanding. This desire is there to greater and lesser degrees. And because it is there, we try to find a way to satisfy the desire, by connecting to people around us through private conversations, Facebook, activities, dialogues, writing, book clubs, organized events, e-mails and letters of all sorts and on and on it goes. Through that connection, the hope is that understanding will light a flame of acceptance. And that acceptance will lead to deeper connection, and that we will find ways in which to see each other through eyes that do not belong to us.
We will then view life through another human’s eyes.
And when this transformation of thinking occurs, we will be that much closer to understanding and acceptance. And that much closer to tolerance and peace. To joy. And we will truly know what it is to love others and see them as God sees them. Wonderfully and fearfully made.
Wrinkles and all.