With the arrival of spring, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and the need to be first in line more than anything else in the world as begun. I’ll never quite understand why certain children have an overwhelming desire to be first in line all the time… there are always those rebels who want nothing more than to be last, but most wish to be at the head of the line.

During the day, when we line up, we have always have a line leader and a caboose. These ‘jobs’ are listed each morning in the message so sprouts know exactly who needs to be where and there’s no question about it… naturally, being second becomes the goal at this point.

The major problem arises at bus time… our school dismisses students in bus waves, so there are basically about six bus lines that form in a twenty-five minute period. If you’re ‘first’ that day, you get to be first in your bus line, but what about the other five lines? Children know they aren’t allowed to run… you’d be amazed at the speed walking to line. I happen to know speek walking is an Olympic event and some of these kids could definitely medal.

I’ve tried joking with them.

“Does the person first in line get a pony? A giant chocolate cake? A pot of gold?” I asked.

Blank stares. My rapier wit is lost on them. I’ve tried a more literal approach.

“Aren’t you all going to the same place… the bus? Why is it so important to be first?” I prodded.

More blank stares. I’m starting to realize, they don’t really know why they want to be first.

Which naturally made me start to think about why… why do some kids (again others could care less…) just NEED to be first?

For some, they simply want to be closest to me. I’m a nice guy. My hand is big and ripe for the holding… but there are others who have never given a hug, never grabbed my hand and yet still, everyday, the race to the front ensues. Why?

Maybe some kids are just super competitive… maybe they fight for their parents attention at home with a sibling and are just conditioned to try and elbow their way to the front… maybe the survival of the fittest really is hard wired into some people’s DNA more than others…

Whatever the reason, I’ve started a new strategy. On certain days, for certain lines (they never know which…) I do what I call the ‘Line Flip’ – after everyone has arrived in line, I shout ‘Line Flip’ and the entire line has to flip. The leader becomes last, the caboose the leader and everyone in between changes position. It’s a lovely thing.