Used to it or not, it was a little unnerving recently as I was snapping pictures of a guy on a roof, to encounter six other reporters.
One quick look told me I was about to be seriously out-reported. But I had no idea of the amount of schooling I was about to receive at the hands of six preschoolers.
It would be too easy to describe these reporters as adorable, fresh-faced and innocent. I lost those traits long ago—and rightly so. But to describe them in such a way would only be a ruse to convince readers these cherubs beat me at my own game through no fault of my own.
Instead, they could be described as naturally inquisitive, eager, enthusiastic, persistent and filled with awe at everything they encounter. All qualities that every reporter should posses, but that most lose along the way—including this one.
Instead, seasoned reporters may pride themselves on great grammar, good sentence construction and proper citation of sources. While useful, these skills won’t produce the vibrant, shimmering results of a preschooler discovering something new and delightful.
On this fateful day, I was at Immanuel Lutheran School in Rosebud (home of the Roadrunners) interviewing the principal who was spending the day on the rooftop.
“Why are you up there? How many students in your school? How many participated in the program?” I yelled upwards.
Carl Otten dutifully hollered his answers back down at me.
Minutes later, I realized I had missed the questions that readers really wanted answered.
“How will you go to the bathroom? What if the ladder falls? Are you going to take a nap?” the preschool pros shouted at the roof.
Not only were the questions different than mine, but the answers they received were given with a hint of a smile and a more personable tone.
No one is wary of a little person. They answer the question with little thought as to how their words may be twisted later.
Teresa Probst recently took over as the preschool teacher at the Rosebud school. She now publishes the Roadrunner Express utilizing her staff of six under six.
Since some of them can’t write yet (ouch), they tell her what they want to say and she patiently transcribes the words for them. The same goes for the questions they wish to ask.
Once the program was explained to me, I couldn’t believe that no one had implemented it sooner.
Get those naturally-inquiring minds out on a beat before anyone has taught them there are certain questions better left unasked. Let their youth and innocence work for them by luring unsuspecting individuals into admitting all kinds of things.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because crayons and blocks line the classroom walls, these kids are not consummate professionals. And it is way more than just the PRESS cards they have stuck into their visors. They think through the questions they wish to ask. They look directly into your eyes as they listen to your answer. They consider your words and then come back with the follow-up question.
I know because they asked to interview me.
Perhaps they weren’t quite as sharp as I have led you to believe. After all, they never discovered that I learned way more from them that day, than they did from me.
I am grateful to have been reminded of why I wanted to write in the first place. I’ve upped my game thanks to them.
Each day since, as I drive past the school on my way to work, I consider one question they asked.
And each day my answer is the same: Yes, this is the funnest job in the world.
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