I dressed up as a salmon for Halloween and my boyfriend was a fisherman. He’s an avid angler in real life and mostly fishes for salmon, so I thought it was pretty funny. I worked really hard cutting out felt scales and gluing them onto the t-shirt I got. After I finished my project, I realized that the felt and hot glue took all of the stretchiness out of the t-shirt. When I tried to get the t-shirt off I literally couldn’t. I asked my boyfriend to help me. He did and as he was helping get the t-shirt off the neck got caught on my nose and pulled my nose as he pulled the t- shirt off. I have to say it actually really hurt! It felt like a rug burn on my nose and it strung for at least 10 minutes (or what felt like 10 minutes, maybe I’m being a little dramatic).
The next morning I was thinking about this and how badly my nose hurt at the time, and then I thought “Oh my gosh, have I ever done this to a child?” The thought haunted me, because I was able to tell my boyfriend “that really hurt my nose” but I would have no way of knowing I did this to a child unless I was very observant and noticed a change in their body language, facial expression or a mark on their nose. Most of the children in my class now would be able to tell me some variation of “you hurt my nose” by saying exactly that or “hurt”, “nose” or pointing. Thinking about them last year when they were less verbal is what really gets me. I know that I rush sometimes when I help a child get out of a dirty shirt, especially when all 9 of the children have been outside in the puddles and they are all sitting in the hallway of the school with wet clothes on, but what is the cost of me rushing? Probably more than a hurt nose. I really hope that more often than not, I slow down enough to send the children the message that I respect them, I care about them and I’m here to help.
Our touch says way more to a child then our voice or words do. Moving slowly, staying calm, observing, telling the child what’s going to happen, and trying to think “how does the child feel right now” will help us to convey a message of respect and care to a child though our touch.