Does that sound amazing? It was.
When you meet someone who genuinely loves and understands children, you know it, and your children know it. My girls LOVED the monks, and the monks seemed to love them, too. Sydney was not at all taken aback the first time that a monk scooped her up into his arms--she understands that being the center of one's attention is her rightful place in this world. Nobody attempted to scoop up Willow, who's a little more of a handful, but the monks, not many of whom could share many words in conversation with her, seemed to appreciate how seriously she took each of the projects that they all did together.
They made little prayer flags together:
Guess who made these?
Ultimately, I opted to stay, which was a VERY smart choice, because among the performances that the monks wanted to show us was something called The Snow Lion Dance. First, a monk enchanted the children with a description of the mythical snow lion. Then, from out of another room and into the performance space, danced--
The children patted the Snow Lion as it drifted off, but then the music hit another crescendo, and the Snow Lion leapt to its feet and scattered the children again. The children all shrieked and ran around as the Snow Lion danced blissfully in their midst. At one point Willow couldn't get away in time and I watched the Snow Lion turn in a circle, Willow directly underneath it doing her best duck-and-cover between its front and back legs.
It was basically the best time that they'd ever had in their lives.
We don't do as much "peace work" together as the girls did at Montessori, and I'm not a good peaceful role model: I scream, I blame other people for my own faults, I don't give money to beggars on the street, I rarely make eye contact with those with whom I am not intimate. But I want the girls to be peaceful, and to want peace for others. I want the girls to hate war, to fight injustice, to love peacemakers. I want them to be able to find Tibet on the map:
On this day, I did a good job with that.