The first time I saw children hunting for gold (spray painted pebbles) that leprechauns (teachers) had hidden in the yard, I remember commenting to my co-worker, "Wow, it's really like the gold rush! They've all got gold fever!" and we laughed--because it was so accurate! Every year, we would watch gold fever unfold, where children frantically looked for as much gold as they could get their mitts on, having complete meltdowns when they spilled their gold, and feverishly looked for anything shiny, hoping on all hope that it was another piece of gold.
I thought this behavior was just a given. I thought it spoke to human nature, and that we all just have this inherent greed that is only overcome by tireless hours of self reflection and growth.
This year, the children showed me how easy it is to be selfless.
Rather than having millions of little golden pebbles, the "leprechauns" only hid two dozen large pieces of gold. We only have twelve children in our school on a given day.
I told the children that when I was out in the yard, I found a piece of gold (I pulled it from my pocket to show them). I told them that I thought I saw some more, but only a few pieces. Could the kids find them and also make sure everyone had some before filling their bags? They all agreed.
They put on their shoes and jackets and went outside. It was a beautiful process that unfolded.
Children were as concerned, if not more, in helping others find gold than they were for finding gold themselves. When they found a spot with many pieces of gold, they'd call their friends over to see and partake. They had conversations, gave suggestions where to look, talked to each other about who had not found any gold yet. Their excitement to show others what they had found supplanted their need for "more". Above all it was downright heartwarming to see children ensuring that everybody's needs were being met.
It's nice to see that as they have gotten older, the community spirit has gotten brighter at Beansprouts.
Further, I would like these children to talk to our politicians and teach them a thing or two!