Winter has been – still is – brutal and long, the world is going to pot in a flurry of hate and intolerance, the environment is as pristine as a sewer, your most trusted public servant, it turns out, has as much integrity as those helpful people who telephone you just as you’ve sat down to supper offering to remove a deadly virus from your computer if you’ll only give them your credit card details, your dog bit you, your cat has fleas, and there’s another snow storm coming.
But relax. Everything’s okay.
That’s how you feel – well, how I feel – after spending the day in the company of children, as I was privileged to do when I spent a day at Park Street Elementary School, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, last week, privileged because what more could you want than to be among such bright faces, such enthusiasm, such freely given trust, such easily provoked merriment?
High expectations come with the privilege, of course.
Like: Here we are. What have you got?
Like: One or two hundred faces looking up at you, waiting to be entertained or enlightened or, preferably (and optimistically on my part), both, as you wonder if the kids are seeing you as W.B. Yeats’ “comfortable kind of old scarecrow” in Among School Children, as you launch into talking about writing, and reading a few episodes from the books.
From being greeted at the door by a couple of charming and helpful student Ambassadors, through two presentations (130 grade 1-2 students in the first, 205 grade 3-5 in the second), to leaving with a gift bag and a warm note of thanks, feeling that the thanks should all be going the other way, how could you have a more fulfilling and uplifting day, convincing you that all is well with the world, after all?