Out of the Mouths of Pop Stars

There is something really special about the forwardness of kindergarteners. They are always going outward in the burst of their beliefs—only to do a candle’s dance at the breeziest response. Their honesty is often halfway to the truth.

As five and six year old human beings, they typically straddle a threshold of development between the fluid and the firm, the personal and the social, the intuitive and the factual, the feeling and the concept. They live in an era of personal cartography, drawing clear-cut boundaries on the newly charted maps of their own worlds—little Alexanders of cognition. Indeed, even though it’s usually at this time that a child will leave the nebulous but porous realm of “parallel play” and enter the wide, definite, transactional world of “socialization,” the egocentrism is still strong, and other egos come as a shock. Sometimes, the confrontation with another “me” can have the smack of scandal. Why, with the entire world still throbbing out to me, should this stranger-kid stab it with their standing in my place in line? Thus, still overflowing with their first four years’ intuition, they lap and splash over the levies they have started which will form those narrow canals we call “learning.” Sometimes, when the storm is just right, they fairly wash it over with themselves. Believe me: as an early childhood educator, I have done some wading. A couple times a month I may be baptized by the flood.

But this liminality in kindergarteners provides for so many strange new things, some of them baffling, some of them wondrous. Continue reading “Out of the Mouths of Pop Stars”



[For my mother.]

In the past year or so the word “great” has gained a peculiar currency. That currency may be starting to wane, at present, but I have continued to wonder what the term means for myself and others. For at least nine months I have been asking myself what greatness really looks like.

And what have I found? Continue reading “Greatness”