12.14.2010

Believe.

Oh how I adore The Polar Express. We spent a full week reading and learning about Hanukah. I think my sprouts know much more about the festival of lights than they did before. That being said, I haven’t found a book about Hanukah that is quite as magical as Chris Van Allsburg's award winning story.

As the cover was displayed, most of the children had some connection. This was a story they were at least familiar with on some level. We learned about Santa and his gift of a bell to the boy in the story. We discovered that his sister could also hear the bell, but his parents could not. As the boy’s sister got older, eventually she couldn’t hear the bell anymore, but the boy always did. He believed.

At the end of the day, we headed out for recess as usual. When we arrived back in the classroom afterwards, I heard the jingling of bells. Then the screams… ‘He was here! Santa was here!’ erupt from the children like the elves in the story upon seeing their mighty leader. Not one child questioned where these bells came from… Santa (or maybe one of his elves) had come to our classroom to deliver each of them an enchanted bell.

I’m not sure when children stop believing. I’m sure at some point I questioned the existence of the plump jolly guy in the red suit. Then something magical happened to me… I started teaching kindergarten. The spirit of the sprouts surrounding me each day began turning the imaginary clock of my soul backwards. Their exuberance and innocence started helping me see the world a little differently. They don’t question, they just believe.

I’ve become a convert. Watching their excitement, enthusiasm, and sheer joy for the season as made me believe again. When they raised their bells in celebration today, I heard them too. Each and every one.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is the BEST Hanukkah story... though nothing enchants the kids as much as The Polar Express... that book is magic.

Allie said...

I can't agree more. Yesterday I was sitting with my son who is 4 and he asked me to tell him a story about Santa's elves. So I told him a story about the toy shop and how the elevator in the toy shop goes 10 times faster than the one at his dad's office. It can do that because it's magic.

Well my little guy looked at me as serious as a grown man and said " Santa is magic and magic is amazing, I love magic!"

Made me realize that when we talk about Santa not being the point of Christmas I couldn't disagree more. He is magic, he is believing and the essence of childhood , of not being weighed down by reality and proof and all that...

Mr. A. said...

@Allie - You are SO right. We were making some ornaments and one of my kiddos who has trouble with fine motor kept dropping his (they're plastic) and he said, "Oh that Santa, it must be his tricky magic that keeps making my ornament slip out of my hand!" :)

Ninety-Nine Lives said...

I love this post!

There's something about Christmas time that is just so much better surrounded by little ones and all their wonder!

123A2Z said...

Mr. H, I'm sure that you have never stopped believing. You became a teacher, so you embody the very essence of a believer. Have you ever doubted that you could reach a child? That they could achieve their goals, whatever they might be? That no matter what happened yesterday, today is always a new day with new possibilities? That each child is capable of reaching for their dreams? We all still hear the bell. That's why we are teachers. When we stop hearing it, when we stop truly believing in the chidren, it is time to find another profession. Happy Holiday from one 'ding-a-ling' to another. :-)

Jinksy said...

Magic is everywhere if you open your eyes and heart to it! :)

Pastor Sharon said...

I think I just heard a bell!

This is my first time here to visit. I am glad I did. I've been converted. I believe!

Fatima said...

Kids are often very good teachers!

Pancakes For Recess said...

Not sure what happens in a year but sadly there are a lot more skeptics in first grade. It was fun playing Santa for them and making them believe in the spirit again:)

Resourceress said...

I read Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins to my entire school population every year--followed by a rousing game of dreidels. Even my 8th graders (who I have visited me in the library or computer lab since kindergarten) were enthusiastic. It is so awesome to here the "I love that book" comments from the bigger kids.