Teaching preschoolers allows me to learn something new everyday.
Take Friday for example.
I had an accidental chance to teach about sharing when, after a game of memory, the students begged and begged to keep the pieces of black and white paper. One student, Alex, managed to collect the most. Another student, Justin, began to well-up tears in his eyes saying "he has too many", "Give me one!" So I tried to console Justin, telling him that it's just paper, but nothing would appease him. He began to cry and wail. Another student by the name of Julie, the most darling in my class, started saying "share, share!" Other students picked up her chant and that's where I followed suit. I swear I started feeling shudders. "That's right, that's right!" I began, "you need to share! Sharing makes you a nice person!"
So the first child to actually act on this was a little boy named Isaac. He reached into his backpack, pulled out one of his pieces of paper and gave it to Justin who at this point was still crying. Lucy followed his example emplored by shouts of "good job", and "yay Lucy!" Then, while everyone was getting excited about sharing, Alex began to sulk...
After a bit he turned around, reached into his backpack and returned to the table with a wad of little paper dogs, trees, and swings. From there he handed them to Justin. Justin in turn, gleeful at the recent turn of events, begins to take out his own pieces of paper and count them zealously on the table. I'm amazed at how quickly a boy who, at one moment, was a little selfish brat can then turn into an amazing example of generosity, and then become a crying heap of flesh and tears on the table.
Now at this I was hoping Justin would see how much we were applauding Alex for being SO generous and nice. But instead when asked to share some of his newbegotten papers with the rest of the class, he simply shook his head, smiled, and yelled "no!"
The pitiful thing here is that the rest of us aren't so different. Remember to smile. Remember to share. Remember to be grateful.