We’ve all witnessed it — a startling revelation, a remarkable comment, a wise observation by the youngest among us. Out of the mouths of babes comes surprising and sagacious stuff.
Parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, teachers and coaches have long known that children can utter some truly erudite words. Now Florida residents have a way to share and memorialize the lessons they’ve learned from kids.
The Children’s Movement of Florida, a nonpartisan, grassroots group that advocates increased investment in early childhood, has launched a month-long campaign through February asking: What lesson has a kid taught you?
Responses can be submitted through the group’s website, childrensmovementflorida.org/lessons/, and the answers will be shared on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #LessonsFromAKid. The people who submit the 10 images that garner the most Facebook shares will each get a $50 Publix gift card.
“Children have far more depth than we give them credit for,” said Vance Aloupis, statewide director of The Children’s Movement. “We teach them but they also teach us, and that’s what we want to bring out. This is a fun project that shows, in the most inclusive way possible, those lessons we’ve learned.”
The nonprofit group is also creating a digital quilt of submissions at pinterest.com/childrensmvmtfl/lessonsfromakid/
The idea for the digital quilt popped up at a staff meeting when the five employees of the statewide advocacy group looked for an inexpensive way to share these kids’ lessons.
“For generations, quilts have served to provide warmth and comfort,” Aloupis said. “They’re a way to share stories and lessons from one generation to another.”
The Children’s Movement began getting the word out by reaching out to other nonprofit groups, looking for a variety of responses. “You don’t have to be a parent to appreciate children,” Aloupis added. “We want to hear from everyone.”
Robert Kovacs was one of the first to respond. He has no children of his own, but through his work as a payroll administrator at the YMCA of Broward he is often reminded how astute kids can be.
The quote Kovacs submitted came from his now-13-year-old godson in Atlanta. The child had told him that another little boy did not want to play.
“Are you OK with that?” Kovacs asked.
His godson said he most definitely was. And then he added, “Some people think they’re hot snot on a platter when really they’re just a cold booger on a paper plate.”
“If we really take the time to listen to kids, they have a lot to say,” said Kovacs of Dania Beach. “Sometimes we’re just too busy with 24/7 communication with work but not our children.”
Nikolai Guzman, a Homestead father of four, submitted a photograph of his youngest, 10-year-old Nikolai, holding up a starfish in a beach in the Bahamas while his mother, Ubelia, looks on with a wide smile. The lesson? “Treasures can be found anywhere, anytime.”
That’s one of the many lessons his children have taught Guzman. “It’s the simple things in life that you have to appreciate. They’re all around us, but we don’t notice them.”
Some submissions are hilarious: “We have washing machines for a reason” is superimposed over the photograph of a mud-splattered boy.
Some are inspiring. A photo of a boy eyeballing a snake carries the motto “Be fearless.”
And others are thoughtful: “Love is a home’s most valuable appliance” is accompanied by a photo of a microwave.
Staff members at The Children’s Movement, who create the graphics to go along with the lessons, are asking the public to share their own lessons.
“My hope is we can create a quilt large enough that years from now our children and grandchildren will come back to it,” Aloupis said. “It will help illustrate that we’re always learning from children.”