By Molly Gettinger
The second grade students that I teach are a wiggling, squiggling, motley bunch, trying oh-so-hard to sit “crisscross apple sauce hands in your lap” every Tuesday morning during our Take Ten meetings. Beneath jittery knees and tilted heads lies a different type of discontentment, one struggling to reconcile the violence and discontinuities in their lives. Through discussion, students shared about challenges faced at home, at school, and in their friendships. In their sharing, one truth became increasingly evident: the little things matter. Kayla shared that she struggles with feeling “not as good at things” as her older sister, who is often praised for her artistic talent. Michael opened up about conflicts that he has in school, sharing his struggles to avoid having to sit in the “take a break” chair or have detention. Jamal and Oscar talked about a fight they had in first grade, and how, in resolving their conflict, they became best friends. Amid each situation that the students faced, we worked together to explore peaceful options to assertively resolve the conflicts prevalent in the lives of these second grade students. Even though they may be young, injustice is palpable to these children, and it is on these students that the exceedingly slow saunter towards a transformed world lies. The toolbox of resources that Take Ten offers students is a valuable seed that can continue to grow and impact the world in a peacefully positive way.