I have seen
A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
Of inland ground, applying to his ear
The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell,
To which, in silence hushed, his very soul
Listened intensely; and his countenance soon
Brightened with joy, for from within were
Murmurings, whereby the monitor expressed
Mysterious union with his native sea.
We hung a little bird feeder in the tree in front of our school. Some mornings I’ll meet the children outside and we’ll sit together and watch for birds. It is amazing to see a group of three and four year olds sitting perfectly still and silent, waiting and watching. We’ve received a lot of attention from bewildered passersby. Most of them are shocked to see the children behaving this way. I’ve found that most people assume that a young child is by nature loud and out of control. I disagree. Children can control themselves, it just takes practice. And it takes an adult who has faith that they can. I never have had to tell the children to “shhhhhhh!” or settle down or sit still. They learned very quickly that a bird will fly away if they move too fast or call out. Their desire to see birds in our tree outweighs their apparently innate desire to run around and cause chaos.