A couple days ago, Caleb came in from playing outside in the neighborhood and told me that he had a new club.
He’s a fan of clubs. Right now, he’s in two afterschool clubs and had started another two of his own here in the hood (the Danger Club and the Candy Cooking Club, which both sound like euphemisms for meth labs but that’s not something I will think about just yet).
This latest club is the Mental Defense Club. From what I can gather, they’re all learning techniques not to get upset when another child irritates them on purpose. They went down to the creek where redbud petals had fallen. “I told them to empty their minds and just look at how beautiful it is,” Caleb told me, and maybe it was the pain pills but I just wanted to burst into tears right then and there at how, at ten, he’s still okay with talking about the loveliness of petals in a creek, that he can be outwardly moved by plain old beauty, that it’s something he’d share with his peers.
They also practiced walking away when someone said something mean to them (which, admittedly, required them saying mean things to one another) and bringing, in turns, bad and good thoughts to their minds (which, admittedly, sounds not unlike events in the fouth Harry Potter book that we read not long ago).
I can’t imagine doing something like this as a kid. Mind reading, maybe. Mental control, sure. But mental defense? Rah, rah, evolution!