Where Do You Want To Go?
In order to get to a destination by train, we need to know which train station to alight at.
Our emotions are like train stations. If we do not know the names of the stations, how do we know which to proceed to?
That was how I started my sharing on the importance of emotional literacy with the kids. When I took out my worksheets in front of a relatively new group of kids, I was a little nervous that they would be turned off by yet another paper exercise. I was relieved when they started to get excited over the word search. I had two sets with different degrees of difficulty. I was heartened that some even chose to work on the more challenging piece.
Subconsciously, I wanted them to search for these empowered states within themselves too. The completion of the exercise has a deep symbolic meaning.
I was watching them get started. All of them sprawling on the floor. I saw a little girl about the age of eight amongst them hesitating as she looked at the worksheet. She had a pink pencil colour in hand and she had a glazed look in her eyes. She was sitting cross-legged and she placed part of the pencil under one of her legs. And then she broke it. I waited for a few seconds and observed what she did next. She simply hid the shorter portion under her legs and froze.
I approached her gently and told her to lift up her leg. Removed fragments of the pencil, smiled and told her that the shorter end is sharp so she is free to choose any other pencils that she wanted. She looked confused but she obliged by choosing two other colours pencils. The staff at the centre was very attentive to her too and was there to assure her as she completed the search and other activities.
We had brought along a few sets of Makey Makey (kindly purchased by a group of Prison Officers) and thanks to Chris and Dean Ng, we had two installations. Both the water and fruit set up enabled them to engage in fun sensory play too.
At the end of the session, we asked the kids what they enjoyed the most. Most said that they enjoyed the water set up with Chris. I was surprised when the little girl said that she enjoyed the word search the most. I wanted to ask her which word she resonated most with but I stopped because I am not sure if she could recall any and I did not want to embarrass her. Then as if she could read my mind, she blurted out the word ‘Respectful’ out loud. I was beaming from side to side and she was grinning just as wide. I was grateful for her because she reminded me without doubt that my precious time was well spent there. I pray that she would learn to respect herself sufficiently in time to come.
The pencil has since been a precious symbol of my why. Dean and I are starting to work on some new initiatives with families. We hope that by empowering couples and families with self mastery skills much earlier, we can prevent the abuse or neglect that could possibly happen in future. These kids deserve better.