Over the last three years I have had the privilege of coaching some wildly entertaining children. As an educator, I’m not supposed to have any favorites, but I here confess that I do. Blair Borah is in grade 2 this year, and already displays the wisdom and insight of the sages.

Last year Blair was introduced to the wonders of contact rugby. All little boys live in dread of the day that adults will realise that rugby is not a wonderful sport which teaches structure and discipline as they had always thought, but (as every right-minded six year-old knows), an excuse for organised hooliganism. After a sweaty training session one afternoon, I led the boys to the shade of an oak tree so that we could discuss the finer aspects of violence. The grinning faces of eighteen little boys stared up at me with wide eyes, eating up every word of advice I had for them. I had everyone’s attention, except Blair’s. He sat cross-legged, grasping a little twig tightly in each hand, and staring blankly into the void. After a minute or two of addressing the group I decided to break Blair gently out of his trance. I leaned in and whispered into his ear, “Blair… Blair, are you ok?” Suddenly he was back in the real world. His eyes fastened onto mine, he lifted the twigs to his forehead like little antenae, and with absolute sincerity and seriousness exclaimed, “I am a bumblebee. I will bite you with my bottom!” In spite of the eruption of raucus laughter from his class mates, Blair never even cracked a smile, but was instantly returned to the fantastic world of his imagination, his eyes, blank as sand-dunes again, his mind alight with possibility.

I was reminded of this episode this week because I had the pleasure of transporting Blair and some of his friends to a cricket match. As he hoisted his little body into the front seat of my car, he was not distracted by his team-mates fights over chair territory and arguments about who would score the most runs today, but conscientiously adjusted his seatbelt and checked to see if it could release. As we pulled away, I complimented Blair on his good safety habits. His reply was typically atypical: “Yes, we must watch out for falling meteors”. I smiled and looked down at the serious little face, and asked him if he was scared. I thought it might be a good opportuinity to talk to the little boy about God’s protection for His children. Blair looked at me incredulously, as if in wonder that an adult could say such strange things. “I’m not scared Mr Curle, I’m wearing my seatbelt!” Then he smiled kindly and whispered so that the boys in the back seat would not hear: “Don’t be scared Mr Curle, meteors hardly ever hit cars this time of year”. I smiled and thanked him for his concern. Then I focussed on the journey, content in the assurance that we would almost certainly arrive at our destination without being struck by a meteor.

I am often jealous of little boys like Blair who live in such fantastic worlds. Terrifying worlds to adults, what with the threat of meteor showers in August and little boys spontaneously metamorophosizing into large stinging insects. But to a child like Blair, it is HIS world. He is the hero of his story, and as long as he sticks to his few simple rules for life in Blair-land (like always checking your seat belt), he need never live in fear of meteors, bumblebees, or anything else that life throws at him.

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