I would like to talk about a child who does not naturally make so much of himself and who has difficulty believing in himself. A child whose name is easy to forget and who easily falls into the shadow of his friends. An invisible child.
The child started at Cirkus Unik in the fall. He showed no particular interest in the circus and never really expressed whether he liked the lessons or not, but he always showed up and participated.
At the school where the child goes there is a pretty hard jargon and it was noticeable that the child did not really like it. I didn’t feel like he was being bullied in the group, but I noticed that he always ended up in the background and didn’t really have the space to express himself among all the extroverted friends.
Everything we tested in the circus the child thought was scary and he did not trust that he would have the ability to stay in the aerial acrobatics. One day he abruptly came and refused to make somersaults, which had not been a problem throughout the semester. The child had quite low thoughts about his own capacity.
It was also difficult to cooperate and to hold hands with friends of the opposite sex.
As we got started with the Value Wheel (Cirus Unik group development measurement method), I began to see a change in the child. I think many things became clearer to the child and he was very receptive to the theoretical task of filling in a diagram. When we all sat down in the ring he also got more space to talk.
The topic of gender equality was new and a bit difficult for the group, but it was also where we could see the fastest results, even for the child in the story. It was not long before the children themselves began to suggest that they should mix between the sexes in collaborative exercises.
We also talked about being kind to oneself and peppering each other and I could see in practice that in the end it also reached this child. He started to think more and dared to try more new things. A more permissive environment was created in the group which favoured the child in being able to take more space.
At the closing show, the child participated; he did a swap change himself and collaborated in duo acrobatics with a child of the opposite sex. The child is still quiet, but I do not think it is about trying to change the children’s way of being but rather give way to daring to push boundaries.
It is easy to see past an invisible child and therefore it becomes even more important with a context where those children can be seen and feel secure in daring to take more space.
Elvira, the circus educator of Alex
* Alex is a fictitious name