A teaching moment as I heard the crash and shatter of the decor I had hung high on the preschool marketplace. I loved the pop of color against the wood and the soft tinkling sound made me smile when the breeze made it softly sway.
As I approached and said “Oh darn! I really liked that and I am sad that it is broken. Stand back, in case the pieces are sharp I need to be the one to pick it up. What happened?” Instantly several fingers pointed “he did it, he hit it HARD”. (It was pretty high so I knew he didn’t use a hand and it wasn’t hit by accident) As I looked over at the one called out by his peers I could tell by the look on his face and the fact that he was pulling up his shirt and trying to hide his head in it that he was stressed. Had I ever said they shouldn’t hit it? No. In fact I have a set of metal chimes hanging in a tree that doesn’t get much wind that they are allowed to hit. I told the accusers “he didn’t know it would fall (neither did I) and he sure didn’t know it would break. I’m not angry.”
As I picked up the broken pieces several ideas were thrown out about how to fix it. I agreed I might be able to try some of their ideas. Then I noticed one shape from each color had survived. We decided it was still pretty and it should be hung back up, even if we don’t fix it. These little guys are learning about their world and how things work. They are learning cause and effect. They are learning if they are as important as things.
Indeed, they are infinitely more important than any item. Better to have a broken item than a broken boy.