Have you played Hide or Seek with a small child lately? It has been a long time for me, until recently. Twice in the past week I was part of the game and I learned a few things from the preschoolers I was watching.
First, everyone was included. It started at a playground with 3 children, all strangers, but as they ran, counted, and chased, other children joined in. It seemed like chaos to me, the person who likes rules and a plan, but they made it up as they went, laughing the whole time. Once the 'seeker' found one child, then they joined together to find the rest, until everyone was found. It was as if no one could be left behind. I found their ability to connect, to join in, to help each other, so refreshing.
Then just a couple days ago, I played Hide or Seek with my two granddaughters. When I found them, the two-year-old sat with her hands over her face--as though if she couldn't see me, then I couldn't see her. Understandable from a toddler's point of view: she was still hiding if her face was covered.
It has made me think about who we all are, to each other, especially in early childhood. We all hide from time to time and we all seek from time to time. We have difficult times where hiding can seem to be the best answer, where we hope putting our hands across our face will keep others from finding out that we have a need, or we feel excluded, or we can't find the meaning. We need to partner as seekers to make sure no one is left out, made to feel less valued, or worst of all, never found. It's not a game, it's real life and people you and I work with matter. We rely on each other to support, lift up and include.