Recently I was meeting with a group of pre-kindergarten students in Oregon. I was teaching them some practices for paying attention. We began by closing our eyes, sitting still, and listening to sounds. Each time they heard a new sound, they put up a finger until they had used all their fingers. Then we talked about what they had heard.
They had heard the fan in the room, voices and footsteps in the hall, birds outside, the breathing and movement of their classmates, and many other things you might expect.
One girl sat quietly until I asked for one more response before we moved on. She raised her hand, and when I called on her, she looked at me quite seriously and said: “Unicorns are very quiet in the wild.”
I couldn’t help myself. She slayed me. It took me a while to pull myself back together. It made me want to be in her head. It was the highlight of my day – maybe my week. I have smiled about this dozens of times since. There is no deeper lesson here, just a wonderfully unfiltered human moment that is likely to stay with me for a very long time.