I want to share a documentary with you today.
This 2003 award-winning documentary, titled “Children Full of Life”, is about a rather unusual 4th grade classroom in Kanazawa, Japan.
Here is how the film starts:
On the first day of school, Mr. Toshiro Kanamori asked this question to his 4th grade class: “What’s the most important thing this year? What are we here for?”
“To be HAPPY!” the 10-year-olds shouted in unison.
Are you surprised?
I’ve been in classrooms both here in the US and back in China, from K-12, to college, to graduate school, no teacher has ever taught me that the most important thing in a classroom or in life is to be happy.
I’m going to bet most of you haven’t either, which is why the classroom in this documentary is so unique.
Mr. Kanamori teaches his students not only how to be students, but how to live a happy life. He teaches them about compassion, vulnerability, and empathy. He guides them on how to cope with difficult life situations like bullying, or worse, death. He gives them lessons on teamwork, community, and acceptance.
And observe the transformations in these 10-year-olds. Watch how they rise to the challenge to face the difficult subjects in front of them and learn the lessons with grace and courage.
Witness how they share their inner most thoughts and feelings, and embrace the kind of vulnerability that most adults would be afraid to touch, much less lay bare for all to see.
Yet it is this type of vulnerability that leads to understanding and a deeper connection. It unlocks in others their pain, and gives them the courage to face it. It is this type of vulnerability that allows us to return to and accept our most authentic selves, without which we can never truly be happy.
I’m in awe of these 10-year-olds.
The full documentary is about an hour. Give yourself a gift and watch it in its entirety.
I am glad I did.
There are five parts to the documentary, and should play one after another automatically. If you have any trouble viewing them here, try watching on YouTube.
What is your biggest takeaway from the documentary?
Share in the comments below!