Last Wednesday the sprouts were busy preparing for meal time. Flip was frustrated with her chair and began to cry.
“Help. Help Flip”
I turned to Luca and signed, “You said you want to help Flip?”
Hannah verbally responded to the question I signed to Luca, “Flip cry.”
Flip turned to Luca, noting his approach. I believe I observed Luca struggle internally. His body was amped up, excited, but also taut with restraint. It seemed like his eagerness to assist, and his desire to be gentle, were at odds with one another as he worked to hold both feelings in the same space. Luca reached out and brushed the tissue against Flip’s face. Flip remained still, eyes focused on Luca. Perhaps unsatisfied with his work, or believing that Flip needed more support, Luca reached out towards Flip again. This time Luca cupped the other side of Flip’s face as he softly, but diligently, cleaned up the evidence of her distress. Luca smiled. Flip said, “Thank you.”
I was so overwhelmed by the complexity of this moment. Luca’s empathy. Flip’s acceptance of Luca’s ministrations. Hannah’s quiet concerned presence. I found it profound that not only did Luca recognize Flip’s emotional state, but he wanted it to be different. What do you see when you look at this exchange? Do you interpret this as an adorable instance of mimicking observed behavior, or does it feel like something else? What motivates us to help others? How do we know when help is needed or wanted? Why and how do we accept help? I invite you to reflect on these questions or wonderings of your own, as you look at the following photos of a similar scene taken five days after the ones posted above.
Due to the sprouts’ intense focus on caregiving rituals, and their growing importance in our classroom culture, I implore you to share any questions, musings, or fleeting thoughts you experienced during your reflection in the comments below. Thank you!