Anticipation felt palpable, as all of us parents waited in the foyer. Through the tall front windows of the school, the night. Finally, the invitation: “Welcome to our cultural fair, everyone!” came the enthusiastic voice of my daughter’s teacher. “Please join your children downstairs, and witness their hard work!”
Over four separate days and 30+ hours, my daughter, her best friend, and their two moms had worked diligently to create a life-like, fully-clothed and fully- adorned paper mache likeness of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. See photo here:
In addition, my daughter had written an eight-page epic poem, a report, and a fictional story depicting the life a person living in Ancient India. With taking on such ambitious work, she had worried a little about completing it all. Could this get done? But she and her team had seen it through to the end.
And tonight, she would share all of her hard work with an audience.
Walking into the gymnasium, I gazed upon the stunning variety of projects on display. Replicas of Ancient Indian jewelry, models of the ancient city of Mojenjo Daro, recreations of ancient weapons of war… the creations of these fourth and fifth graders (and families, of course) took my breath away. Wow.
Crossing the floor to the far side, I spotted my daughter and her friend posed with pride behind their creation, now clothed in Ancient Indian attire. I watched as a smile crossed my daughter’s face upon my approach. “Well girls,”, I said, “let’s hear it!” Working in perfect tandem, the two girls launched into a knowledgeable talk about their project, the historical and spiritual significance of Saraswati, and the symbolism of all they had decided to display. Their learning was truly impressive. As were all the children that evening.
Later, as she quietly lay in her bed, I asked how she felt about the night. “Good,” she sleepily responded, “We got lots of questions. And compliments.” I could tell she felt good. And I kissed her forehead, as she faded off to a well-earned sleep.