My little niece can count from one to hundred. She showed it to me a few days ago. From one to hundred, one by one Emily recited each number to me, without losing concentration, motivation or the smile on her face.
Using the tablet as a channel, and having her little sister, my parents and hers as the audience, she started one of the most satisfying experiences I have had in the last months. It was one of those moments that make me feel that the distance is not that long if we can communicate, learn and have joy together.
I could see the enormous excitement in her eyes, which grew bigger as she approached the end of the count. This emotion was shared and got stronger in each ten because we would say loud together:
Each ten was a brief but well-deserved break. A pause to measure progress, gather strength and move forward. A moment in which our voices united, our smiles got more full, and our eyes looked at each other more and more intense.
It was a beautiful example of communication, support, and trust. I knew that she was going to reach the hundred and that I would be there all excited listening to and celebrating her.
After the applause and the leaps of joy from the audience, we continued with the exercise in English. This time, from one to ten.
When our emotions were in all their splendor, we continued with the round in German. She knew that this time she had to work harder and pay attention because she is not familiar with it. We were all amazed by her excellent pronunciation (except for the number five that I cannot pronounce right either: «fünf«).
Then Zoé appeared on the scene. I love the attitude of the 2-year old toddler because she seems convinced that she can do what her older sister can. She sat comfortably in front of the tablet, with that mischievous and defiant look, with that perfect mix of temper and mischief that makes her unique and powerful.
I started reciting the numbers from one to ten in German, no need to try the light Spanish or mid-level English version with her. She «repeated» after me and looked confident and happy with her performance. My emotion and pride reached their highest level when I saw her smiling full of satisfaction once we finished and everyone cheered.
When a situation like this happens, I feel very responsible. When my nieces look at me directly in the eyes, when I have their full attention, and I perceive their enthusiasm to learn something new, to see how I do it and try themselves, is when I am fully aware of every word, movement and thought that goes through my mind. They look at me; listen to me and repeat.
I enjoy playing with my nieces a lot. I love getting lost with them and their imagination, even if we spend only a few minutes together from time to time with an Ocean in between. I enjoy creating situations in which they show themselves what they are capable of.
If the distance is a barrier, it will not stop me from making my nieces learn and be surprised of themselves. I will use it to remind me of the great responsibility I have. Most importantly, I will use it to enjoy that smile on their faces, one of achievement and happiness.
What situations make you aware of your responsibility with children?
How do you get their attention?
How do you build trust with them?