We’re almost never completely quiet or still in Beit Nitzanim. We love to talk to each other at כיבוד (kibud–snack), play silly name games where we try to shout someone’s שם (shem–name) before someone else says, “boppity bop bop bop,” and share “highs” and “lows” from our days. We also love to move around, rocking on wiggly stools, running around the social hall, and spreading out in our space on all of our pillows.
But children were completely quiet and still yesterday when they listened to a peer share her feelings. We participated in a guided meditation today in preparation for Yom Kippur. Children were asked to put a picture, feeling, or color in their brain to remember the rhythm of the year. I reminded them of the changing seasons, of moments of confidence in the last year, moments of joy, and new beginnings. Children found a comfortable spot to lie down and draw about how they were feeling after the reflection.
Some children chose to draw about a birthday party they wanted to carry into the new year with them or a new Taekwondo belt. Other children filled their page with abstract colors, lines, and shapes. One child wrote, “sad” on the top of her page and spoke about the time she had a tummy ache at school, when a classmate teased her, and when she was angry at herself for accidentally telling a classmate to “shut up.” There were no whispers, no fidgeting when this child shared. Soundlessly, Beit Nitzanim let this child know that she is safe and a respected member of our community.
We aren’t often quiet or still in Beit Nitzanim because we’re having such fun playing and exploring together. But when we’re quiet, wow, it’s magical.