Amid all the positive voices Naftali spoke up. "I don't always like having people over. Sometimes they don't want to do what I want. And sometimes I just want to be alone," he articulated. I was thrilled to hear this honest opinion and we discussed how hachnasat orchim isn't an 'easy mitzvah'.
In our classroom we had a tent to welcome our friends, and everyone did enjoy this opportunity to host.
Then the kindergarten, as part of theri work on the same topic, sent us an invitation to join their class on Friday for a fruit salad party. We hung the invitation on the wall and every day they enthusiastically counted the days until the party.
We made truffles to bring to the party and discussed the manner we use as a guest. Then we went to kindergarten.
Sometimes being a host is better than being hosted. At least three of our class were tot scared to sit down in the foreign classroom. Almost no one would eat the fruit salad.
It was a learning experience for all.
Third grade was also learning this topic and presented a puppet show about Avraham welcoming guests. This was more enjoyable for all, as it was in 'our own space.'
We also created pictures of tents to welcome guests into our space.
Allowing children their own creative destiny is crucial. But without guidance or a framework, it is hard for them to develop new ideas or direction. This project is one example of the guided, but open-ended projects we do all the time.
Having already accrued vast amounts of knowledge and experience in hosting and being hosted, we talked about tents, and how they could look all different ways. Everyone was keen to share their tent-related experiences.
Armed with paper, burlap squares, different popsicle sticks, glue, and scissors, everyone was free to create their own masterpiece.
As you can imagine, the results were just as varied as the children, each unique and beautiful.
My daughters asked me which was my favorite, and although there are 'no favorites', it was Elazar's because he said, "Morah, I made a tent for my guests, but I need food for them too! What can I use for food?"