When my middle child was four he graduated from preschool in a ceremony that created a hush amongst the attendees, and made me sit up and take note in more ways than one. His teachers did something wonderful and inspiring and just plain crazy by many people’s standards, but I loved it then and I love it now. At the start of the proceedings the kids filed into the sanctuary of the church the preschool was held in, wearing cardboard mortarboards, and slowly, carefully, intently stepping up to the stage. Each child was fully engaged in his role, completely dedicated to impressing the gathered adults, because each four-year old child was staring directly at his hands as he carried a lit candle! Yes, fire in the hands of a room full of four-year olds.
I don’t know if it was intended for this symbolism, but for me the scene is a vivid reminder that at every step in my child’s growth and development, and I mean every step, he can do so much more than I imagine. He is capable of whatever we dream he can do if we give him the right tools to achieve it. Somehow these preschool teachers understood that the children recognized the great trust being placed in them by allowing them to carry fire, and the children rose to do just that. The parents in the room that night were awed by the power entrusted to their children, but I for one was thankful as well, for the image of my typically wild-eyed and notably energetic handful of boy stepping cautiously, respectfully, hopefully toward his bright future.