Lessons from a 4-year-old

Kids say the darndest things.  And if we really listen to what they say, we can usually learn something from them.  This was the case the other night when I was having a conversation at dinner with my son, Riley, who is 4-years-old.  He announced very matter-of-factly that “If you wanna have a friend, you gotta be a friend.”  I asked him to tell me more about that, and he told me “That’s what Ms. Liz says.” Now I know that she probably says that to the class as a whole, but I also know that she probably needs to say that specifically to my son more often then I’d like.  We continued the conversation with more about what that saying meant, and how he knew if he was being a friend.  I was glad to hear his thoughts and could tell that he’d really been working on how to do just those things.

We talked about this phrase on Friday in our own classroom.  I shared it with a small group of friends who were trying to work out how to really care about each other and work together as a team.  We decided that as simple as that phrase is–a 4YO can understand it, afterall, on some level–that is is really more involved that you might first think.  We discussed at length what it might look like to a 5th grader.  And then we put a plan in place to start living it out.

And then even as I’ve gone through this weekend, I’ve realized that there are implications for me, too, as an adult.  I’m learning the same lesson that my son and my students are, just on a different level.

So it’s true what they say: “If you wanna have a friend, you gotta be a friend.”

What does that mean to you?  Feel free to add your thoughts and comment!

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