“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news my mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Fred Rogers
It is challenging to navigate uncertainty as adults and can be even more confusing for young people who are learning how the world works and what their role in it is. It is important that young people know that it isn’t their job to worry or make the world a safe or healthy place, even though children can contribute and continue to be helpers themselves.
Seek out news stories that highlight the heroes who have studied and trained to be helpers. Young people can find security as well as inspiration when they see adults working to keep the world safe. As parents and guides we have an opportunity to listen to children, both what they already know and what they are interested in finding out more about. We can support the efforts of using play, art and writing to work out an understanding of the things they see and hear. Open ended play in addition to open- ended questions help young learners come to solutions on their own, instead of having adults tell them how to think and process.
Our heroes have a grasp on what it means to be a helper. They have spent the year cultivating positive interactions with one another. They know that in the Spark community we are kind and make sure that everyone gets what they need- even if it isn’t what you want in that moment. From our books about bucket filling- to our empathy challenges, Spark heroes know that there is power in the “us”. They have a sense of community and shared responsibility. They are quick to offer the ice pack to someone who fell. They offer to trace a younger hero’s hands during project time. They come up with fair solutions and think critically about the needs of others.
We can help by washing hands and preventing the spread of germs and we can help by being kind to one another. I challenge our young heroes to come up with other ways that they can be helpers.