Friday, November 4, 2011

Like Little Kids

Hallowe'en is always a neat time of year for me.  It brings back my own memories of costumes and candy and cold weather, running from house to house with a pillow case full of treats, and getting home and dumping out the bounty on the kitchen floor and making trades with my older brother for the 'good candy'. (Loved those Charleston Chews...).  With my two young children, getting them all dressed up in their costumes, taking them around and hearing them say "Trick or Treat" (and 'thank you' afterwards...very cool), and watching their eyes bug out at the amount of candy in their little pumpkin-shaped buckets makes my heart swell with pride.  Great Dad moments...

But aside from my own children, one of the neatest things for me to see as the Principal of our school is catching kids being 'kids'.  At our school, a huge group of students came in on the Sunday prior to and early Monday morning of Hallowe'en to decorate our hallways (and the Principal's Office!) with ghouls, goblins, blood, body parts, webs and witches.  We had our annual costume parade with staff members dressed like Jimi Hendrix and Gene Simmons, and students in every costume imaginable.  The Hallowe'en Relay followed, and students were bobbing for apples, running through obstacle courses, and shrieking with laughter like little kids.

Like little kids.

As a coach, some of my greatest memories were not on the court, but rather on the bus with my teams.  Singing "Dancing Queen" as loud as we could in downtown Vancouver.  Having the "best animal sound" contest (my donkey was solid).  Making up rap songs. Listening to the team giggle like little kids when we would dress up the rookies (often the seniors would dress up too) would make me laugh so hard that I would have tears rolling down my cheeks. 

Like little kids.

At the end of the day on Hallowe'en, I reflected on how society wants to make our youth grow up so quickly:  we want students to be literate, numerate, highly involved, polite, hard-working, conscientious, socially responsible "mini-adults", and the sooner the better.  I find that I can fall into this mode of thinking far too frequently.  And yet a day like Hallowe'en makes me realize that we need to give kids time to breathe, to play, to let loose, and to be able to laugh. 

Like little kids.

And yet as I left the office at the end of the day, there were two unbelievable Grade 12 students who stayed behind to clean up the blood and webs and body parts and candy wrappers from a successful Hallowe'en celebration so that our custodians would not have an additional burden on their busy afternoon.  And as they were finishing, one of them turned to me and said "Thanks for letting us decorate the halls and your office today Mr. Birk!".

Like the adults they have grown up to be. 

It's Friday!


  1. I love it, Cale.

    A definite reminder that kids are kids -- and we really shouldn't want it any other way.

    Those donkey sounds and dancing queen sing-offs are the stuff of memories -- and memories stand at the root of motivation.

    Want to know why kids hate school?

    Because they can't be kids.

    Thanks for the reminder,

  2. Many days when the "to do" lists pile up on my office desk or when I've sat all morning in an "important" district meeting I like to go down the hall and joining the kindergarten students digging in the sandbox, using the smart table, or building with lego. They are excited, they are interacting, and they are learning.

    Like little kids.

    Maybe all classes should be more like kindergarten.


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog!