Music brings joy to children.
Books bring questions and thinking.
Teachers bring love and answers.
Today at school was a day I’ll always remember. So will the children. Emotions ran high. In Dickens’ words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It was COVID, overcoming fear, needing to be held, singing and dancing, and reading aloud one of the best children’s books – perfect for the day.
It started in the morning with Eddie. He just stopped. He folded his arms, scrunched up his face to keep from crying, and refused to talk. All the coaxing in the world did nothing to help him talk. Finally I said, “Eddie, come here” and pulled him onto my lap. He curled up.
I knew what to do. He wanted to be rocked. I remember listening to a song recently on the radio that has a chorus:
“Rock me mama like the wind and the rain, rock me mama like a south bound train. Hey, mama rock me.”
I rocked Eddie and sang those words, over and over. Children were swaying and nodding. They loved the song, because it made them feel good. It makes me feel good, too.
Sometimes words aren’t needed. Music is far more powerful to reach the soul, pierce the heart. I sing spontaneously all the time.
Eddie recovered to his ‘old self’, and the morning returned to normal. I learned later that the song had lasting effects.
I read a picture book every day to children before lunch. Today I read “After the Fall. How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again”, by Dan Santat. I hadn’t planned to read the book, but I knew this was the perfect book for the day.
On the back cover, the words are, “Life begins when you get back up.” That’s powerful. And so I read the story, with Humpty saying, “Some parts couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Yet, he overcame his fears. We stopped to talk about being scared. Children are scared at this time with COVID and feeling very unsettled in their own world. Yes, they are resilient…but they’re still scared.
I will post a detailed book review soon.
Next was lunch. Children were talking about the new song. I could tell that the song was soothing after reading about Humpty Dumpty and how brave he was. Brave. That was the word. A good song can help you to feel brave. As we listened, Connor suddenly frowned. He blurted out,
“I want the virus to go away!”
Children are honest, and their words often come out when you least expect it. I choked back tears. I had no words at the moment. I reached across the table to rub his arm. He understood. He needed to say that. I needed to hear that.
“Connor, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be a doctor.”
“Will you marry me?”
“I’m gonna marry you and Gloria.”
I played the song (the title is “Wagon Wheel”) and danced with Connor. He laughed so hard! Of course all the children wanted to dance with me and be held and twirled around.
I wish every child could be held and twirled to music.
Then it struck me that we could ‘see’ the song on YouTube. We did! So, after lunch, which was completely chaotic (thanks to me), it took a while to get back to our routine. I wouldn’t have changed a minute of all that happened today – we faced fears and anger, we talked about COVID, we loved each other deeply, we found joy and comfort in music and a great book. We are a family.