I was talking to a teacher a few days ago about our favourite flavours of pie. I mentioned that there was a tie for first in my tummy: pumpkin and lemon. She replied that a gift would be coming my way, and yesterday I received it – six yummy-looking pumpkin tarts. Cue the salivation.
I gazed at the little darlings with lust on my tongue … but then there was a pause. What could I create around these tiny brown circles with 26 Grade 6 kids? I decided to ask them.
“There are six of these and twenty-six of you. How should I decide who gets one?” Here are the young suggestions:
1. Someone who doesn’t talk to friends when we’re working
2. Someone who does something kind
3. Someone who gets all their work done
And there were a couple of others that I can’t remember.
“Okay. I’ve picked one of your ideas and I’ll deliver one of the tarts when I see an example of it. I’m not going to tell you what idea I’ve picked.”
I picked kindness.
Kids were on the carpet as the teacher led a discussion. One boy was massaging the head of the fellow in front of him. Unusual but tender. (Tart)
Then the class was divided into groups, working on putting a series of pictures in some order and labelling each drawing. One girl had been doing the writing in her group and sensed that a boy wanted a turn. She told him to go ahead. He smiled. (Tart)
Four kids were sitting at their desks in a group. One girl dropped her eraser and another one reached down to pick it up. (Tart)
Three more to go but no more examples of kindness showed themselves. So I switched gears. I decided to reward speaking up about important things in front of the class.
I had mentioned to the kids that my wife Jody died four years ago. One young man asked “What did she die of?” > “Lung cancer.” (Tart)
A girl said something that I thought was brilliant, but darned if I can remember her gem. Still … (Tart)
And then I changed my guideline again. As the bell rang for hometime, one girl looked so sad. I walked over to her. (Tart)
Yes, I love pumpkin. But that version of love pales before the beauty of human beings.