I recently watched the most remarkable video, "Take a Seat, Make a Friend." If you have time, please watch it as it will be the best 5 minutes you have spent in a while.
In short, this video shows a ball pit on a city street, with a sign on it that states Take a Seat, Make a Friend.
The 3-4-ft. deep ball pit has room for 2 people, and I first wondered when I watched it if I saw a ball pit in a public area would I even climb in. Aren't ball pits for children? Wouldn't it be filthy dirty? Almost too much to bear for this germ-phobe. But clearly, this was no ordinary ball pit.
The video features excerpts of random pairs of strangers who had the courage to climb in the ball pit. Once they climb in, the ball pit contains random larger colored balls that prompt each one to share something about themselves. Examples include: What are three things on your Bucket List? Do you play sports? Describe the first time you fell in love. Talk about someone who inspires you.
The depth of the conversation in that the two complete strangers engage is amazing. They articulate personal crises, such as divorce, discover commonalities that amaze, and by the end of their short time in the ball pit, forge a connection with another human being.
Amazing. All in a ball pit for adults.
I showed this video to my Principal's Advisory Committee, a wonderfully diverse group of about 60 young people, who immediately were enthralled by the idea of a ball pit in our school. I did not show it to foster the idea of a ball pit. Instead, it was because the students had engaged in an ongoing discussion in several meetings in wanting to make our school as inclusive as possible, even fostering a lunchtime activity in which students would somehow rotate with different students at lunch.
This has been a fascinating idea, and one that we have not yet come to consensus on a plan. The ball pit friendship video, though, helped drive different ideas on how we can bring together random students at Jerome in some of our student seating areas. Is there a way, for instance, to have random signs or cards that also foster conversation and connection with someone the student may not previously know?
And what about us as adults? Chances are we are not going to encounter public adult ball pits. But in those instances in which are on a bus, train, subway or sitting in a reception area at a bank or dentist office, can we "Take a Seat, and Make a Friend?" Would the world be a better place if we did?