Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Importance of a Goldfish

Tonight I volunteered at the Waukee Public Library booth at the first Maple Grove Elementary Parent University. I was the official “Handy Hippo Helper” (how about that for a properly alliterated title) that got the privilege of decorating bookmarks and applying tattoos. Tattoos are temporary but the joy and connections I made cannot be scrubbed away.

I got to work with the kids during story time and helped with assembling their craft for the program. A couple recognized me and dubbed me as “the tattoo guy” and showed me that they were still on their hand where I put them. I offered help and many accepted it. One kid blatantly told the storyteller that he worked better by himself and sat himself away from the others. He didn’t need my help. I admire him for knowing what works for him and adjusting it to work that way.

Crafts are creative and interpreted differently by everyone. One table represented the drastic differences that arts and crafts have from one another.
“Can I put a goldfish on my snowman?” Erik was asked.
Note that this did not start out as an edible craft though some were persistent on making it one.
“That would be AWESOME!” bellowed Erik right back.
From that point they made a hipster snowman with sunglasses, a spider with many eyes and legs, and numerous gold fish cracker covered snowman.

I noticed one boy was attempting to glue one goldfish to another.
“That won’t work. You need to glue them to the felt.” I discouraged.
I dismissed it and ubiquitously floated to another table group. He found me later and was very excited to prove me wrong and show off his proud work of two goldfish stuck together without being smashed.

At that point I realized how much I was being looked up to for guidance and shunned for the unenthusiasm of his creative work. I was whom they were looking to for help. I was his negative motivator that led him to try again and do what he was trying to achieve. I was the person who would impact these kids’ lives today. I was the image of who they admire to become one day. That last one seems to be pushing it a little but I still remember the event when I was in first grade and the fourth graders wrote a story with us about something with PJ’s. I still have that memory. I recall how my “buddy” was irritated in being forced to work with younger kids. I just hope that wasn’t me tonight. Unlike the temporary tattoos I applied earlier, the guidance and connections I provided will never be washed away.

How do you impact others everyday? How does your unintentional communication represent you? How do you make a difference? Your Story Matters.