Nothing went right yesterday at school. I should check to see if there was a full moon. Grumpy was the mood of the day for children. At our Morning Meeting Allie, Gloria’s BFF, stood with her arms crossed. Stone faced. She wouldn’t sit down. Tessa turned away and refused to look at anyone. Lincoln drooped her head and cried because Will had poked her. Then Will had a meltdown. No words could console him at that moment.
I stopped everything and looked around at our fragile group of children. Nothing mattered at Morning Meeting. Learning went out the window, yet the best learning was about to come.
We discovered that one of the plastic forks used at snack had extra plastic on the edge. Interesting. Naomi, my assistant teacher, said to the children, “I wonder how plastic forks are made?” Lightbulb moment. She rushed to get the iPad and find a YouTube video on how plastic forks are made. Well, the only video she found was so-so.
I thought of Mister Rogers. I knew immediately that his TV show had incredible footage of how things were made. The video on making crayons was one of his best. So, we switched gears and plugged in Mister Rogers and How To Make Crayons.
Wow! It was fascinating.
Just watching Mister Rogers brings on a blanket of wonderfulness. Besides his innovation, he understood children and their place in the world. Mister Rogers listened, truly listened to everyone. He understood. He was the Santa Clause of matters of the heart. I dearly miss him and his TV show, Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
My dialogue with the children went something like this:
“Do you know what we are? We’re a family. We’re the Aqua Room family. Every family has sad times and bad times. Hey, I made rhyming words. Today many of you are not feeling happy. You’re grumpy. And that’s okay.
Did I ever tell you about the time I was mad at my sister? I did a terrible thing. I hit her with the phone. Phones back then were really heavy. I hurt her, and I felt terrible. But I was mad. Just like you.
We help each other and stick together. That’s what families do. Naomi and I are like your Mom and Dad. And you’re our children.”
“Will, do you need a hug?”
Yes, he did. And so did Tessa, and Lincoln, and Allie… and everyone else.
Thank goodness for Mister Rogers. Just watching him on the crayon video brought me the understanding I needed in order to help the children. It felt good. They sensed it, too. Don’t we all need someone to listen? Don’t we all need to be hugged? That’s what Mister Rogers did best.
Fortunately, I have a little piece of him, right here:
Today is a new day. In the words of Mister Rogers, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood 🎶…”