Sunday, February 22, 2009

Learning The Art of Giving

On Saturday we went back to the Rainbow School to visit the kids. You may remember we went a month ago to help paint the new preschool structure. If you've forgotten, the Rainbow School was started by a Googler's wife. It is a public school that is partially sustained by the government, non-profits and contributors. We wanted to go back to spend more time with the kids and see the teachers again. Last time we visited we noticed that the book library could use some new books and that the kids love to draw, so we wanted to also take some drawing materials.

Jen, Adam, Mike, Gina and I were all excited to stop at the bookstore on our way to the school to get the kids fun things. We all picked things that we liked. I wanted to get them drawing pencils, crayons and coloring books because those are the things I always like playing with my nephews. I was like a kid at a candy store in the bookstore. I was overwhelmed with all the options and wanted everything. I kept thinking what would my nephews like because they are around the same age of the young kids. After getting all the gifts we headed to the school. Each of us had at least one bag of goodies in hand.

When we walked in it was lunch time and all the kids were seating outside eating. They were all so excited to see us. There was a chorus of "hello madame" followed by big smiles. I was really struck that not one of the kids asked what was in the bag or made a dash to get a gift. Even when we took some of the things out to read books in classrooms or show the teachers no one seemed really interested in the gifts. I can't think of a time where I have walked in a room with kids somebody asking what they were getting. When I go to my sister's house my nephews first question is usually did you bring me a gift? I mean, who doesn't like a present, especially young kids.

I really learned from the kids that day because they were not interested in the gifts. What they were most interested in was sharing with us. Instead of asking to use the new color pencils and drawing paper, they had me seat down and one by one the second graders would bring me the things they drew as a gift. They were so excited to give me their few drawings as a gift and have me pronounce their names. When I tried to teach them a song (the only nursery song I know) they shared five amazing songs with laughter and clapping. Then they wanted to teach me how to dance, which was very comical. More than anything the kids just wanted to share with us and just wanted our time. The kids were so full of joy, laughter and genuine interest in sharing. Our time and interest made a bigger impact on them than anything we could bring them. I really enjoyed my with them and want to go back soon to learn more.

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