At the after-school program on Monday I was helping a group make thank-you cards for their teachers. This was my conversation with a 2nd grader.
2nd grader: "I want to put stars on mine!"
Me: "Okay, that would be perfect. Just draw some on there."
2nd grader with tears in her eyes: "But Miss Abby I don't know how to make stars!"
Me: "Well today you're going to learn and you're going to be the best star-maker ever!"
The next ten minutes or so were spent teaching this precious little child how to make stars. She caught on quickly and was very proud of herself. Here is her practice sheet.
Quite honestly, I was excited too. It was great seeing her face light up and see her excitement and precision as she put each star on her teacher's card. When her mom arrived we both went up to her excited to show her this new talent. Her mom looked at us blankly, gave a polite nod and said, "Let's go we're late." Both our faces fell. I was so sad her mom didn't join in our celebration.
Fast forward to today. We had a final fun day at the after-school program because it's the last day of the school year. It was the end of the day and I was tired and more than ready to be done when this same little girl came up to me, held up the craft we had made and said excitedly, "Miss Abby, look!" I glanced up as I gathered my things and said, "That's nice". Her face fell. I looked closer and saw all the tiny stars she had drawn. I immediately looked her in the eye and with genuine enthusiasm told her, "Oh my goodness look at those beautiful stars. You are so good at making those!" And her eyes lit up and the smile was back on her face.
I don't say this to draw attention to a mother who isn't the most attentive, a 2nd graders success in drawing, or my ability as a master teacher of star-making (haha), but it just made me think about how often we pass up the opportunities each day to find joy in the little things. How I got so excited about something one day and the next day miss it because I can't see through the busyness and tiredness of my own little world.
What if we took the time to truly enjoy the little things in life? What if we saw the world through the eyes of a child and realized how joy can be found in the small things like learning to draw a star for the first time, seeing the first firefly of the year, or capturing a lady bug? What if we just stopped for a moment each day to be thankful for what we have? What if?