This summer I am working at an elementary school-- with a program that is essentially an all day, day-care. The past month has been an adventure to say the least. Every day I learn new things about myself and about working with children. It has me rethinking just about everything in my life.
The thing that was most surprising to me was how easy it was to get to know the kids. In most settings I have an almost impossible time trying to memorize names of people. It seems that college students can be so similar that it is hard to remember which girl with long brown hair is which. (I feel ok using the brunette example because I fall into that category).
With kids it is whole different ball game. It was incredibly easy to memorize the names of the 30 kids in the program. I've decided that this is because elementary kids are each complete originals. They have yet to fall into the trap of trying to be like someone else. They are not at all self conscious about the way that they act. They are just themselves completely and unapologetically. While many parts of my job leave me exhausted, there is something completely refreshing about getting to know kids who are unconcerned with their hair getting out of place during a game of 4 square and who don't really care that they forgot to zip up their fly the entire day. Kids who are truly unique.
When I meet people it is easy to put them into categories. While stereotyping can be negative, I just find it easier to understand people by personality types. It's sort of a compilation of all those color tests, the A/B thing and other basic observations that allow me to understand people on some level. These kids don't fit into any of those categories yet.
Maybe it is something that comes with age, or maybe we are born with unique personalities and throughout jr. high and high school we try so hard to be like everyone else that we lose it... and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to reclaim our unique personality traits.