I feel static, when I am stuck with one approach, one thought, one style in my facilitation. Every interaction brings a different kind of challenge for me, demands variety in my facilitation and a new approach from me.
One child at campus, in session was screaming for two days. We listened, acknowledged needs, but did not ask to stop crying – for us it is fine to cry. After two days, few kids brought the thought in thought club – “It was very disturbing, my head is paining, it is troubling and many other things like spoiling work, stealing chocolates, taking personal stuff and so on……………I realized, I cannot just stay with my one thought “give space, let child settle by self”…… I had to now take care of other’s need also.
I was remembering one of the training session “can we receive he child new every-time?” First two days I received this child new, without any image of my past experience, but other kids were not able and wanting to receive this child new. One of the child had expressed earlier, just because it is new child, why should we suffer.
So looking at the needs of all, I had to come out of ME and try something else with this one child. We began with expressing Her actions are disturbing other – crying, screaming, taking other’s stuff and so.
We made few deals
- Any of her actions will not disturb the session and any of my action will not agitate her like holding hands.
- Anytime I am calling she will come, any time she is calling I will go.
- Anytime she is screaming, I will scream, anytime I am screaming she will scream.
- If we are talking about story, we will only talk about story and not hatred or love for anyone else……………….our deals were hilarious but they were deals, I followed them firmly and consistently -:). …………..all this led to this child repeatedly expressing “I do not like you, I hate you”. It was okay to hate. She is as determined as I am.
In some places I was remembering the movie “Miracle Workers” where at times the faculty had to be literally cruel to the child and not allow her to mess up with herself for her own benefit, shake up the child to shed off the layer of sympathy and images child was carrying for years. I had to do the same, be firm, be clear be calm, and not get troubled by the reactions (I hate you), my job is not to be good in her books – I knew what I was doing and why.
When she asked me to help I showed her various paths but did not try to impress her or sooth her for any of her actions.
This child began with
- I do not know how to fly kite, and ended up with I tried rolling the thread.
- Can you write for me and we both ended up writing together.
- I have stomach upset and I have to take this medicine for many times………….we ended up reading about it together and asked for some clarity “when to take, how many times”
- I hate all of you and ended up dancing and singing with all of us.
When she started with “I do not know, can you do it for me? Before responding, I tried understanding – is it new to do, is it difficult, it is she does not want or what? Tried different things – sometimes little help, sometimes full help, sometimes silence, sometimes more time, sometimes firmness, sometimes affirmation you are able to do, sometimes her achievement of earlier work. But the focus was to work on working – that all.
Few resources we worked with
- Picture cards of animals – draw them by dividing into different shapes and follow lines on hand writing and spellings are not important at this stage of expression).
- Make schedule and understanding her own needs and plan for the day.
- Reading book and writing the story using the same characters.
- Songs in the session – humming new songs.
Now, other kids started stating their needs very clearly to this child, not allow her to trouble them anymore, soon all other kids were “bad” for this new child. The child was full of complain for others at home, at campus. All kids were fine with her reactions. We all received her with smile and laughter. We also prompted her to share her dirt with people in dirt cleaning and also the appreciation.
Slowly this child started asking others “will you be my friend, will you tell me this, will you work with me?”. Other kids at the campus embraced her NEW without any burden of her past actions. It was beautiful to see how kids were objecting to her actions but not her.
I am enjoying this acceptance.