Interdepently~Work together, learn together, depend on each other
I'm not sure there is anything cuter than listening to 1st graders pronounce big words with a bazillion syllables.
This is a hard word to say .... In - ter - de - pen - dent - ly.
We said this word a lot of times today.
And I explained to my students that this is the only way Chester and I function. We work together, we learn together, and...we depend on each other.
Besides our everyday life as a pet therapy team, a story came to mind, once again from Schreiber Pediatric in PA. We were working with our little friend Naia.
Naia's Occupational Therapist was helping her to overcome big fears in order to feel safer in her huge world.
Naia had come to trust Chester, so working with him in OT was not only healing and fun, but groundbreaking for this little one.
On this particular day, Naia was to crawl through an expandable tunnnel. For some children, this would look incredibley fun. For Naia, it was overwhelmingly frightening.
The thought was for Chester to pave the path through the tunnel. And of course, Chester would loan a bit of his bravery to Naia, and she would follow.
Chester and Naia both looked through the tunnel together.
I went to the other end of the tunnel and called Chester.
He looked at me. He did not move a muscle. He would not come. No way Jose. He was frozen.
This was not going as planned.
And so, I brought Chester to the other end of the tunnel. He and Naia looked at one another through the very scary tunnel.
His four paws stayed firmly planted on one end, Naia firmly planted on the other.
The therapist and I looked at each other.
"Naia," I said. "Do you think you could help Chester overcome his fear of tunnels? He's having a really hard time."
I pulled out the peanut butter jar and handed it to Naia. "If you could just reach into the tunnel a little bit, maybe he will sniff the peanut butter, find his courage, and come to you?"
She pondered this situation, then nodded, and stretched her arm into the tunnel gripping the opened peanut butter jar.
Chester's nose twitched. mmmmmm
Naia moved a bit further into the tunnel, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g to Chester. He could not resist. He came.
And they met in the middle.
In the middle of the tunnel.
Chester licked the jar, and kissed Naia's outstretched hand.
"Good boy Chester," she whispered.
And together, in-ter-de-pen-dent-ly, they crawled through the tunnel to the other side.
And then..............they did it again. And again. :)