“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt
Our wedding day was an event to remember for my husband and me, our friends and family, and my first grade class of twenty-four six-year-olds. To my students, not only was it a big deal that my name was going to change in the middle of the year, but the fact that I was getting married also meant that I was in love (a word that cannot be spoken among a group of kids without giggles).
Throughout the year, my teacher’s mailbox collected hundreds of crayon-sketched wedding pictures from my students. Drawings of my future husband and me holding hands while frolicking under rainbows, beautifully adorned wedding gowns fit for a princess, and larger than life wedding rings were among the common themes. The kids loved hearing and talking about my plans to be wed to “Mr. Scott.” In the final days leading up to the wedding when my mind couldn’t help but drift to thoughts of our big day, I came up with an impromptu creative writing assignment.
Wouldn’t it be intriguing to find out what advice a group of first graders would give their teacher in regards to maintaining a happy marriage? Here is a list of tips brainstormed by my community of little people:
1) Be nice!
2) Go on picnics.
3) Give each other presents.
4) Sing to each other.
5) Have a baby.
6) Get a babysitter.
7) Go on a dream vacation.
8) Share your food.
9) Help each other.
10) Go on rides.
12) Get dressed up and go to fancy restaurants.
13) Play sports together.
14) Find a pot of gold.
15) Say, “I love you.”
Aside from thinking this was completely endearing, I was stunned by the actual quality of responses that came from kids who have only been in this world for a handful of years. From watching the relationships of their loved ones, or the relationships of book or TV characters, or perhaps even from just thinking about the kinds of things that make them happy, they were able to come up with a list of valuable, albeit simple tips to maintaining a happy life with your spouse.
This list speaks very clearly to me. Mutual respect, showing appreciation for one another, and setting aside some time for fun are desires that are intrinsically in our hearts from a very early age. As my husband and I venture though the journey of marriage together, we will reflect on this list as a reminder to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, stay young at heart, and maybe if we’re really lucky, find a pot of gold somewhere along the way.