Monday, September 13, 2010

Softness and Safety

"Softness triumphs over harness" Lao Tzu

It rained a lot this morning, which is unusual here and which brings back a lot of memories of home in Costa Rica where it really RAINS (not our meager 5 minute sorry sprinklings) for about half of the year. While I was driving, I was remembering when I was little. I grew up in the rural mountains of San Jose and sometimes when it rained I would impermeate myself: putting on my very synthetic material sweat pants and sweater (so synthetic that they were virtually waterproof), my black rubber boots (they didn't make the nice patterned colorful ones that we have now back then), socks on my hands, and a small purple umbrella. And I would go and slosh around the puddles under the clusia trees.

For some reason, remembering this triggered a feeling memory. An emotion memory. I remember what it felt like to be home in the afternoons after school, on raily ones in my "waterproof" gear, on worn corduroy couch, watching TV, or playing with my brother and sister. The feeling of safetly and softness.

I thought about those two feelings and how perhaps they sum up what children WANT to be feeling at all times. Safe and soft. And that perhaps, especially during these first weeks of orientation at school, especially for new and very young children, those two feelings are very important. To trust me and to trust the environment they have to feel safe. And I can help them do that through many ways (routines, patterns, rules, consistency, etc.- hard ways), but also I can help them develop that feeling that by exuding a softness that means "everything is ok."

I will try, even when the little chaos is erupting, to be firm and clear, but also make sure that I make that softness accessible to them.

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