Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No fear

For those of you following this blog, you'll recognize Claire.  She's the goofball on the right, catapulting water into the air for the love of wetness.

Claire is the "See It, Do It" kid.  Many of you have kids like Claire.  They are frustrating for their fearlessness, and fabulous for their fearlessness.  She's the kid trying to get up from the table with an overloaded paintbrush, carrying the cup of dirty paint-water in her teeth while trying to step over Corinne...

...AND trying to pick up the Shiny Thing on the floor.  However, she's also the kid who marches over to the girl at Sesame Place with the same bathing suit as her, and chats up her entire family, asking them where they're from, what food they're eating, and if the girl wants to come over for a playdate, all while interjecting the Spanish she knows into the Spanish she hears them speaking.

After observing her chatting with this family the other day, I joined her.  I joined in part because I recognized my own (?usual) reluctance to venture outside of my comfort zone, and in part because I wanted to make sure that that family didn't need rescuing, and in part because the conversation  Yes, as a result of Claire's mingling, we met some new people and had a warm moment in our day, and, from the smiles on their faces at the plucky Claire, probably gave them a warm moment, too.

In a similar vein...I recently read "Born to Run," a truly excellent book about ultrarunning, running itself, "Well, you don't know me very well, now do ya?" and humanity.  I was struck at how Scott Jurek, perhaps THE premier ultrarunner of our generation, sits and waits for the last racers to cross the finish line during each of his day-long races.  Why?  Jurek relishes human connection and the need to help other to feel connected, despite having run 50-100 miles much faster than the stragglers ever could.

Mixed in with my thoughts on Claire and Jurek are some recently discovered feelings of mine on charitable works.  Enmeshed as we are in the raising of 3 young kids, we struggle to get out as much as we'd like to participate in acts of philanthropy (the acts more so than the giving of money).  However, when we do,  I am struck by how good it feels, and how connected we feel to our world afterwards.

I understand that we're all different, and that branching out is more challenging to some of us, yet watching Claire and Charlotte (who joined Claire in guerilla good-naturedness the other day, and was nearly as chatty as she) with that family reminded me that while we are our kids' best teachers, the sensei should also learn from the student.

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