What does the “W” flag at the Cub’s game mean?

I asked a Preschooler, “What does the “W” flag at the Cub’s game mean?” He paused and said, “It means WHOOOOA We Love the Cubs!”

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The Chicago Cubs could use as much love as possible since their last time in the world series was 71 years ago with the last official winning title 108 years ago. Whoa…….That is a long time. There are no parents of preschoolers who have ever seen the Cubs win a pennant. The last time the Cubs won the world series there was no television for us to watch it on. Think about no computer or smart phone to check a score, no television to see a game with a stat tracker on the corner of the screen. There were no cork centers to balls. It was the first year a pitcher could not soil the ball before he threw it. Shinguards became part of the uniform. Whoa………The most popular Musical hit of 1908 was “Take me out to the Ballgame” and “Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet” has the most popular recording of that song. If you watched the Chicago Cubs in their first home game of the 2016 World series, you would have seen Bill Murray’s Daffy Duck version being sung. Two Bill Murray’s now famous……images

The blue W on a white banner actually stands for Win. The flag was added above the scoreboard at Wrigley Field in 1937, as a signal for fans coming home from work on the El. According to Wikipedia, the Cubs Win flag is a victory flag that is referred to by approximately a dozen names, combining; either Cubs or Chicago Cubs; Win, W, White, White W, or W Win; and flag, banner or banner flag. Other common names for the symbol include Chicago Cubs W Win Flag and Chicago Cubs Win Banner Flag. It has become an important symbol for fans that one retailer describes as a fan banner instead of flag, or banner flag. In addition, days when the win flag is flown are known as “White Flag Days”.

No where does Wikipedia share that WHOOOOOA we love the Cubs, but love them we do. Even people who do not enjoy baseball or are “Southsiders” and love their White Sox can still appreciate a group of people never giving up. Everyone has challenges and dreams that do not come true, but we can learn a lesson from the Cubs. We can train in the spring, play in the summer and not let our dreams die in the fall as we move on to another season. Whether we win or loose with our dreams, we will move forward.

  • What is something that you have wanted to happen for a very long time?
  • What techniques have you found that work when you find yourself getting impatient and feeling hopeless?
  • What is something you could say, “Whoooooa, I really love________?” unknownAs this is being written, we don’t know the outcome of the 2016 World Series. We do know we like to be happy. Let’s all choose to be happy in all circumstances.”Holy Cow” that may be some good advice…..

UPDATE: As of November 2, 2016, the W also stands for World Champions! Whoa!

 

 

“Do we yell?”

We read a book for our first week of preschool that talks about rules at school. One page asked, “Do we yell? The book suggested we do not yell at school. One child immediately said, “I HAVE to share this with my mommy because she always yells at my daddy. Do you have more things I should teach her?”

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Preschool is an interesting time. Little children have a lot to learn. They need to wait in lines, wash their hands, share incredibly hard to share toys, say goodbye to loved ones, try new foods, write with new instruments, meet strangers and keep their hands to themselves even when their whole body wants to touch someone. Remembering all that is expected of them can be a year long process in preschool.

Children are constantly learning. They are learning from their peers, their teachers, other parents they meet in the hallway and of course their family members. While they are busy learning, they are also busy teaching. They want the world to be fair. They want to know what is expected of them and of others. They want their parents to treat them with respect while still being nice enough to buy them a treat.

While children are so busy learning, it is the adults’ job to also learn from the them. There is not a day that you cannot learn something from a preschooler if you take the time to listen. Children are listening even when we think they are not. They hear yelling even when it is not directed to them. Some studies share that yelling can be as harmful to a child as corporal punishment. The impact of “second hand yelling” can be just as harmful.

Does yelling happen? Of course! We had a child’s dog get hit by a car this week. Yelling has to happen at times to try and prevent accidents. What we hope to prevent is the long term effects that yelling can provide.

If all children could teach others to use kind words in a respectful tone, our hearts would be open to learning more from each other. When that volume  does get away from us, never underestimate the two words, “I’m sorry.”

  • What type of yelling do you remember when you were growing up?
  • What is your plan for your current family in terms of yelling and being respected?
  • Will you take the time to try and learn something from a child this week?

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What is your favorite color?

I asked a preschooler, “What is your favorite color?” She said, “Unicorn, you know, pink, purple, orange, unicorn.”

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The most common favorite color for adults world-wide is blue. It is in every crayon box and used by every child to color. The primary colors often come to our minds first as we think of colors. Artists use primary colors to create all the other colors. Paintings with color add to quality to our lives.

Colors are also used to describe people. There are whole workshops that help us determine if our personalities are Blue or Green or Gold or Orange. Colors can define us.

In our environment, colors can enhance our emotions. Blues calm us, reds excite us and patterns can give us movement. Interior decorators spend years learning how to make us feel and react in different colored rooms. Hotel designers are keen to know how to decorate spaces so that patrons feel good about their space and invite us to want to return.

Preschoolers are especially fond of color. They do not gravitate towards the gray paint. They seem to like red the best. They are not afraid to mix colors and put orange next to pink next to green next to purple next to red and call it beautiful.

Research says that there are at least 2.4 million colors that the average eye can detect. Crayons can never keep up with what our eyes can see. It may be fair to say that color names can also never keep up with a preschooler’s imagination. If “unicorn” can be a color, certainly worlds would expand. If we can look at people and not see black or white, it may just give us the magical eye of a unicorn. No one has seen a unicorn, yet we have one in our minds. When we come to a place where some of our favorite things are things that our minds can bring to the world, we will be in a place that preschoolers find quite comfortable. The ability to bring our minds out to the world and connect with others is a colorful gift.

  • What is your favorite color?
  • What are the meanings behind color to you?
  • How can you stretch your mind so that it can bring out new tones, hues and subtleties?

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Do you want a box?

I was recently at a restaurant and the wait staff came and asked, “Do you want a box?” A preschooler quickly said, “I want a new toy, not a box!”

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Preschoolers often know what they want and are not afraid to ask for it. They think outside the box and are not kept to standard answers. As the wait staff brought back the food in the box, she asked, “Can I get you anything else?” That preschooler again jumped in to add, “I sure hope that toy is in the box because I still don’t want a box! ”

  • What was something you received in a box that you really enjoyed?
  • When was the last time you thought you knew what you were getting but was completely surprised?
  • Is there something this month that you could do for someone that would be an outside of the box moment?

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“Why did you punch your brother?”

I read a post from one of our preschool mothers asking her son, “Why did you punch your brother?”

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Now just for a moment, I want you to think logically about at least three answers a four year old may offer. I am thinking many of the common responses start with “He…..” We are quick to blame others when things go wrong. We are quick to want to remain innocent and justified in our actions. We want others to like us and to see our point of view. We often want sympathy.  We want justice.

Our world has been hit with some violence lately that does not make sense to us. We long for the simplicity and innocence of childhood while we anguish over actions of adults who should know better. We are grieving those hurt by others for reasons that just plainly do not make sense.

However, sometimes people’s actions truly do not make sense. They come from a place that we don’t understand. Years of hurt come out in strange places. Months of frustration manifest into baffling actions while weeks of annoyance can turn into incomprehensible words. We all need to take a deep breath and try to center ourselves back to a calm peaceful place where we don’t see differences in colors as reasons to pick a fight.

Now getting back to my preschool friend……

“Why did you hit your brother?”
“Because I didn’t eat very good and I can’t control my arms!”

I am thinking you did NOT see that answer coming! That is what we are seeing today in our news. People are doing things we never saw coming for reasons we never thought of. Unfortunately, adults are often not as funny as children. You just never know when broccoli and kale will be reasons we lose control of our arms!

  • When have you been angry enough to wish harm on someone?
  • What are the biggest triggers you have for anger?
  • What can you do to control your arms (and words)?

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P.S. My preschool is having a week of cooking camp right now. We are learning all about healthy choices and good foods. We are doing our part to eliminate as many reasons for lack of controlling arms as possible. 🙂

Who is number one?

Summer vacation has approached, and I was in the store with a mother with two unruly children in her shopping cart. She looked at them and said, “I am with my number one and number two problems.” Without a beat, one child said, ” I am number one. He is number two” to which the other child immediately said, “NOOO, she is not number one, I am number one!”

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There were two children arguing about who was the number one problem child and a mother who looked like she was about to cry. Frustration can cause that. That mother was at a turning point for her summer vacation. She may be beginning a whole season of arguing, comparing and frustration, or she may turn the day around and use the teachable moment to start anew and focus on what can change to make her family a loving cohesive unit.

Each person has choices when conflict and frustration arise. It seems things can either get bigger fast or they can dissipate and move to a new direction. My hope for all the parents out there who have children near them that they look for keys to work through their problems. Without the keys, that is the definition of prison. For those reading this without children, you don’t need a child to still have problems. You are fully capable of creating your own prisons, and some have been locked up for so long, you may need a professional locksmith to help you out.

  • Think about a time you were arguing with someone. Is there any possibility you could really have been the number one problem?
  • Instead of looking at who is right in a situation, what could happen if we started looking at how can we solve the problem?
  • What prison are you in right now, and who can you use to find a key out?

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Which mommy is the prettiest?

My preschool has a full wall of hand drawn mothers by preschoolers, and I asked,  “Which mommy is the prettiest?” One boy ran to the pictures and said, “My mom is the prettiest in the whole world!” Just then another boy ran over and said, “My mom is better than the world and is prettiest all the way to God.” Not to be outdone, the first child said, “We can just let God decide and since you didn’t talk to him today, I may just win.”IMG_3574

Mothers and beauty go together. It is wonderful to see each preschooler loving their mother and knowing she is the most beautiful person they could know. Each mother is beautiful yet no two are alike. Isn’t that the most beautiful thought? Every mother needs no one else to compare themselves to.

In my preschool, we have a set of identical twins. They look alike, and we need to look closely at their actions to determine who is who. However, when they drew their beautiful mommy, they both were very different. An outsider never would see the pictures as the same mother. As the one true mother looked at the entire class, she immediately picked out her son’s picture of her. Then in looking at the others, she was also able to pick out the other picture of her drawn by her other son. There is something about a mother that knows her children well enough that even when identical on the outside, the inside is still very distinguishable.

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If we could all know people well enough on the inside and not care as much what their outside looks like, we would be on the road to being as smart as a mommy.

  • What parts of your mother are different from all other mothers?
  • What parts of your own mother do you think are beautiful?
  • When you see a mother this week, will you find some way of letting her know she is beautiful?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mommies in the world!

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Which is your favorite Easter Egg?

I asked a preschooler, “Which is your favorite Easter Egg?” He quickly looked at the basket, and said, “My favorite one is not there. It is the chocolate one I sneaked out of my brother’s basket.”Which Easter Egg is Your Favorite?Preschoolers are impulsive. If they see something they want, they are often tempted to act on that feeling. A chocolate Easter egg in another person’s basket may just wind up in a preschooler’s stomach. Preschoolers can be very selfish.

However, that is not what happened in this case. The preschooler went on to share that he hid his brother’s chocolate egg, and he is going to let him find it on Easter. His favorite egg will be the one he will help a brother find.

We often make assumptions. We often look at someone’s actions and think we know their motives. We often are wrong. We are not perfect. We make mistakes.

The story of Easter is full of assumptions. Jesus was a liar. Jesus was trying to overthrow Jerusalem. Jesus was a good guy with good stories, but certainly nothing else. Jesus came to this earth to start a new religion. Jesus could not really have power or he would have not allowed someone to kill him. If Jesus was really the son of God, God must be terrible to allow death. Jesus has no relevance for me in my life. I don’t need an invisible spirit to be involved with me.

Many people spend their whole life with assumptions that may or may not be true. Seeing the bigger picture is something we might not see. We might not get to see a preschooler offering candy to a brother. We might end the story at looking at a thief who had no good thoughts. The end of stories are up to us. Easter is never the end. It is only the beginning of a journey that will take you to places you may never knew existed.

  • What kind of Easter egg is your favorite?
  • What is an assumption you have made or someone has made about you that was wrong?
  • What is the best way we can live our life without letting assumptions control our thoughts?

Q: What do Easter bunnies get for making two baskets?

A: Two points, just like everyone else!

(Can I assume you didn’t see that one coming? 🙂 )

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates that holiday!

Do you search for four leaf clovers outside?

We asked our preschoolers, “Do you search for four leaf clovers outside?” A child thought about it and said, “I will now! My teacher always has such great ideas. I love her.”

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One of the highlights of teaching is when you open doors that students never knew existed. There is that moment when a child sees something for the first time or experiences a new feeling or texture or activity and you realize you have entered into sacred ground.

As children, new things happen often daily. They don’t plan for it, it just happens. Oftentimes a loving teacher is behind a new experience. As adults we often walk through our days with no real expectation that something unique will happen. We don’t assume we will try something for the first time in our lives.

Finding a four leaf clover is considered good luck, especially if it is found accidentally. I wonder what may happen if we looked for the great ideas that others have around us and followed through with trying new things. Maybe the accidental finds would bring us more than just good luck.th-1

  • If you wanted to search for something, what would you search for?
  • Do you have anyone in your life who continues to challenge you to try new things? 
  • How would your outlook be different if you expected to do something new each day?

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“Can you love one another?”

I asked a preschooler, “Can you love one another?” and she said, “I am working on loving my brother right now, that guy named ‘Oneanother’ is going to have to wait.”

Love one another....

Love one another….

Loving one another is a hard commandment to do. Our family can have a lot of differences. Brothers can annoy us. Sisters can be difficult to work with. Mothers can sound like they complain too much, and dads can be overbearing. Living in a family where you need to share, cooperate, show tolerance and love is always a challenge. Some families make it look easy, but in reality all families have struggles with showing real love each day.

People in your family will make mistakes. They will forget things. They will have different opinions, and you may need to choose to agree to disagree. Some family members will leave their socks on the floor, and even though they say it is not to annoy you, you feel deep down that they do things just to drive you crazy. They may forget to give you a Valentine card even though they love you. The Post-it note that says, “Happy VD day,” may not be as endearing as the sender thought. However, we keep trying.

Just about the time we realize that loving our brother in our family is a hard and fairly impossible job, we do need to realize that everyone is our brother. “One another” can be interchanged with “our brother.” Sometimes Valentine’s Day is seen as THE day to show love. Today might be THE day for you. However, any tomorrows of your life are also a great day to love one another. There are a LOT of “oneanothers” out in the world just waiting to meet you.

  • When you think of loving “one another”, who comes to your mind?
  • What challenges do you have in loving family and all the others that encompass “one another”? 
  • Will you challenge yourself to meet someone new and actively show them what love may look like?

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

May this sentiment be for everyone.

May this sentiment be for everyone.

 

“Is it hard for you to ski?”

I was in Winter Park, CO trying my best to stay upright on skis on the mountain. At the bottom of the mountain, there were classes of preschoolers all learning how to ski for the first time. I asked one of them, “Is is hard for you to ski?” He looked at me with a big smile and said, “It is easy to ski really good. I can pee good too. My teacher told me to go to the bathroom before we got all our coats on, but she doesn’t even know you can pee in your snow pants, and it feels warm.”

Learning to ski...

Learning to ski…

The little skiers were amazing. They skied with confidence and were well on their way to becoming accomplished skiers. The teachers were also amazing. They had patience and skills to maneuver a group of little ones up a slope and back down countless times. The preschoolers were also not afraid to tell me they knew  some things the teachers did not.

Everyone has things in their lives they need to learn. Sometimes a class can be scary as we worry about our ability to learn a new concept. We worry we will not be able to catch on. We worry we will not be as good as the rest of the class. We worry we will fall on our faces in humiliation. Rarely do we remember that we do know something the instructors don’t. We all have things we can do that instructors can’t. We all have strengths that we can use when we try something new.

Good teachers will allow us to learn from them as we teach things back. Good teachers will not be intimidated when we ask questions or show them things they did not know. Good teachers are good learners. Good teachers also continue to have patience when students show things they never imagined…even if it means helping change out of some wet ski clothes.

  • What is something you have recently had to learn to do?
  • What are some things you know that a teacher may not?
  • What would give you more confidence when learning something new?

“Very good coaches for ski jumpers stand at the top of the slope and watch the jumpers prepare, rather than standing at the bottom and watching them land.”  Roland Joffe

P.S. May everyone have something new to learn and teach this year!

 

“Could it be MY baby too?”

I had a group of preschoolers dress up like the people in the Christmas story. I asked Mary and Joseph to sit near their baby. The innkeeper looked at me with sad eyes and said, “Could it be MY baby too?”

A gift for everyone

A gift for everyone

That is EXACTLY the story of Christmas! That baby born was not just Mary and Joseph’s baby. He was born for the innkeeper and the shepherds and the wise men and all the people who are reading this right now. Of all the ways I have heard Christmas explained, this simple question from a preschooler told the whole story in 6 simple words. “Could it be My baby too?” For a moment, think how God must feel when a preschooler asks to be apart of His life. How must he feel when anyone any age asks to be apart of his life?

Preschoolers are good at saying “Mine!” They want everything to belong to them. If they are playing with something, it belongs to them. If they were playing with something an hour ago and someone else picks it up, it still belongs to them. If they think they like something, it belongs to them. For a preschooler, “Mine” is a very big deal.

Christmas can be hard when presents are opened and children want what someone else got, or they open something they really don’t want.  However, the one true gift at Christmas is truly for everyone. The true gift of Christmas really is “mine.” It is now just up to the people to decide if it is a gift they want.

  • For a moment, picture a newborn baby that will change the world. Could this really be your baby too?
  • Could you really be given the power that this baby will have?
  • What will you do with that knowledge?

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Christ was born in the first century, yet he belongs to all centuries. He was born a Jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet He belongs to all countries.” George W. Truett

Merry Christmas to all who read this, and Merry Christmas to all who you share this with. Anything that is “mine” that is shared is now multiplied. Nothing you give is ever really given away as you always hold memories in your heart. May you find the baby and all of its power that belongs to you this Christmas. What is mine is yours too.  Sheila Halasz

The Power of a Preschooler can change your life…..if you let it.

“What is Advent?”

I asked a preschooler, “What is Advent?” He said, “Santa likes snow at the North Pole. It is really cold there. When he gets ready for Christmas he needs to ‘add vents’ to his sled so he can stay warm. It takes a few weeks to do all that vent adding, but when it is done, it is Christmas.”

What is Advent to you?

What is Advent to you?

Advent is supposed to be a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. We prepare our hearts to receive hope, preparation, joy and love. It is often hard to prepare our hearts while so much commercialization happens around us. Things in stores can distract us. “To do” lists get longer and longer. There are so many good causes that are looking for resources and time. It can be quite an overwhelming time if we are not careful.

What we often need is a breath of fresh air in this busy season. Maybe we do need a new vent to blow on us and clear out the clutter in our lives, a vent that will provide us with warm, clean, unpolluted air. Imagine the summer when you sit on the beach and the warm winds blow at just the right speed and temperature. Imagine the calmness that you feel. Imagine the relaxing peace that a gentle breeze can bring.

Maybe, just maybe, we do need a new venting system each Advent season. We need a source to receive hope and preparation, joy and love. If we can just stay calm and let that Holy breath of fresh air wash over us, we may find the peace we are looking for. As for that Santa guy, maybe, just maybe he too also needs some new vents to blow fresh air on him as he prepares for Christmas. Maybe he is only able to do what he does because he has taken the time to add vents to his sled.

  •  What does Advent mean to you?
  • What areas in your life do you need to have a vent blown on you?
  • Do you have any issues you need to vent?
  • Will you take some time to be still and feel a warm breath wash over you?

“A human being is only breath and shadow.” Sophocles

“God is ever present. He’s in every breath, in every step. He’s here, always, always.”        Jill Scott

“I wanna be thankful”

We sang a song at preschool that said, “I wanna be thankful.” The music had a refrain that sang this over and over and over again. After the song was finished, I asked the group, ‘What do you wanna be?” One child shouted, “I wanna be GOD!”

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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Preschoolers can have high heights. They are unpredictable and do not stop when we think they should. Being thankful and grateful is something we want all preschoolers and adults to be. Gratefulness is the beginning of greatness.

If we believe that God is great, than we can also believe that being more godlike would be an ultimate goal. If we are more godlike, we are more thankful. Maybe being thankful is not our final destination. We need to go even further. Maybe thankfulness is a nice pause on our way to greatness.

  • What do you “wanna be”?
  • What would your world look like if you were thankful for everything?
  • What can you do to use your thankfulness to bring greater greatness to your life?

“I want to know all Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details.”

Albert Einstein

Video of my preschool friends giving thanks. (Click on the blue words)

If you would like to hear the “I wanna be thankful” song we were singing, it is here. I hope you wanna be something great today.

 

Will you blow away in the wind?

It was so windy this week, I asked a preschooler, “Do you think you will blow away with all this wind?” She looked at her little body, and said, ” I think I have too much inside of me to blow away.”

Blowing in the Wind

Blowing in the Wind

All people have things that ground us, things that keep us who we want to be. As I write this, I am on an airline flying to the Windy City from Las Vegas. Las Vegas is full of interesting people with thoughts, actions, clothes and words that are unique to my everyday life loving preschoolers.

Two men next to me on the plane have diamond studded watches, designer gift bags and electronic equipment worth more than the rental car I just returned. They were practicing rapping with each other while making up gestures with their tattoo filled arms and hands.

On the other side of me are young parents with an infant daughter. Their seats are filled with toys, a special blanket with an attached pacifier, a bottle and baby music with finger plays to entertain. The husband was returning from a business trip and did not want to miss time away from his young family. His face was proud as he shared with others the accomplishments his infant could do in her short seven months of life.

I’m not judging either side of this airplane, but I am definitely more comfortable with one side of the plane than the other. I cannot speak to which side is more grounded. Luckily choosing who is grounded or not will never be my job.

Speaking of grounded……the pilot just announced that we will need to stay on the ground a bit due to some excessive winds. Apparently the plane’s insides are not big enough to not let us blow away. I am thankful for pilots who keep us grounded when we need to be yet let us fly high when the time is right.

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  • What grounds you?
  • What elements are weighty enough inside of you to help you stay your course?
  • When you see others who have chosen different values, what can you do to remain grounded in your own values while accepting other’s choices?

My hope for all is that your insides will always be too much to ever blow you off course.

“You have to be good.”

I overheard a mother telling her child, “If you want to go trick or treating, you have to be good.” He looked at her and said, “If I am bad, it just means my costume is really good.”

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There are times that a preschooler can just make us pause and think. That is something we all need to do more often. As adults we often go through the motions of a day without really thinking if there are new ways or contemplating why we do what we do and what we believe in.

Being bad and being good are such broad concepts for young children. If you are a child, broccoli can be bad. Getting mud all over yourself outside can be good. Taking a nap in a cozy bed can be bad. Waking up before the sun rises so you can play loudly in your room can be good. Good and bad are not always black and white.

There are many adults who live in absolutes. They have strong feelings on good and bad. There are issues with gay people, people of different religions and races, and issues on what foods we should put in our bodies. As we think through all of these complex issues, let’s try to use our good choices in a world that can often be very bad.

  • When you think of something bad, what do you think of?
  • Have you had a time when what you thought was bad turned out to be good?
  • What can you do to turn any bad situation into something good?

Remember, finishing all of that trick or treat candy, can be good or bad depending on how you think……..how much do you have right now?

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Can you bring your happy face to school?

I asked a preschooler, “Can you bring your happy face for our school pictures?” He shared, “I can bring any face you need!”

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As adults we are asked to do a lot of things. We often have job descriptions. We have commitments and responsibilities. We have friends and family that rely on us, and we have an entire world that seems to have needs we can fill. It seems we cannot get through a week without some political call coming to collect information and donations from us. “Can you, can you, can you” is a common start to a sentence.

There are times we give grudgingly. We really don’t want to buy wrapping paper from the middle school neighbor, but we do. There are other times we give out of responsibility. We help a friend move and pack boxes as we change our schedules to accommodate this project. A stranger needs help alongside the roadside, and we call for help We give of our time knowing we will never see the stranger again. A spouse needs help and even though you absolutely hate laundry, you fold his or her socks.

Adults give because of so many reasons. A preschool child is not complicated by all the adult trappings. When you ask a preschooler to do something, they either will or they won’t. They have no strings attached and no guilt when they give. They are cheerful givers. Sometimes unexpectedly they can give beyond the adult imagination.

If you are in need of anything right now, it would be a great gift to find someone who says, “I can bring anything you need.” That would be a school picture worth a thousand words.

  • How do you feel when someone asks you to give something?
  • What is a time you may have wanted to give but did not?
  • When is a time you gave more than what was expected?
  • Can you make a point to surprise someone this week by giving them the unexpected?Unknown

“Are you celebrating the 4th of July?”

I asked a preschooler, “Are you celebrating the 4th of July?” He exclaimed, ” Of course I am! I am 4 years old and I like to have a party every month that has  a 4 in it!”

Do you celebrate with Fireworks?

Do you celebrate with Fireworks?

Independence Day is celebrated each year in the United States on July 4th to commemorate our breaking free from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to his wife Abigail wrote, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” It seems that is one part of our American history we have gotten good at remembering. Each year the United States is left with the decision of how to best celebrate our holiday.  The fourth of July link here will show some beautiful pictures from our country’s previous celebration. Our country is full of beautiful fireworks, parades and picnics.

The 4th of July only comes once a year. However, my preschool friend is right. There are more months with the number 4 in them. We can choose to celebrate more often if we desire. Fireworks and parades may not be practical each month. However, Thomas Jefferson did have another sentence to his wife before he shared his big party vision. He said, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

A solemn act of devotion to God Almighty is something we just may be able to pull off each month. It does not have to cost anything. It can be an individual choice what that looks like to each individual. If our country could remain grateful as we think of others, that could be a true celebration. It could be a celebration that lasts from this time forward forever more.

  •  How are you celebrating the 4th of July?
  • Who are you dependant on?
  • What acts of devotion could you do the other 4ths of the months?
  • For those who do not believe in the God Almighty that Thomas Jefferson spoke of, what ways could you still see a need for remaining grateful as you think of others from this time forward forever more?

Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependant on one another, every soul of us on earth.”  George Bernard Shaw.

The power of a preschooler can change your life…if you let it.

“Who do you think is the winner?”

I sat in a Bible lesson today for preschoolers. The story was about Elijah and the prophets and the strong competition they were having. The teacher asked, “Who do you think was the winner?”  Without a hesitation a child shouted, “The Blackhawks!!!”

A WIN!!!!!

A WIN!!!!!

Living in the Chicago area, the Blackhawks are much more popular than Elijah. The story of Elijah was being told in a Vacation Bible School setting, and hours upon hours had been put into decorations to make the scene look like Mount Everest and also Mount Sinai where Elijah heard from God. The first day as the preschoolers looked in awe at the mountain scenes, one boy looked at it all and said, “It’s very nice, but where are the Blackhawks?”

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Sometimes we get so engrossed in the current sport’s event, or the voices on the radio and the crimes we see on the news, or the politicians in our area that we are not able to fully focus on other topics that come our way. The “Elijah stories” of our lives get too hard to notice.

However, if we want to be able to embrace the “Elijah stories” in our lives, we need to step away from the loudness of the Blackhawks’ win. After the win in Chicago, fireworks went off, and people all over the area started tracking the location of the Stanley Cup. Wrigley Field and bars emptied, and the celebrations continued.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Chicago will host a ”world class” celebration for the Blackhawks in the coming days to celebrate the team’s Stanley Cup win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Winning the third Stanley Cup in only six years is a big deal, and the Hawks are being considered a “dynasty.”

Now getting back to that story of Elijah, Elijah was scared of the big deals in his life, and he hid in a cleft in the side of a mountain. He heard a tumultuous earthquake, booming thunder and lightning in a windstorm and a raging fire. All three of these were impossible for Elijah to miss. However, the god he was searching for was not in any of these larger than life occurrences.  God was in a whisper.

Sometimes life gets noisy. Circumstances around us are like gongs. It is all we can concentrate on. However, if we can remain still, there are still whispers that are speaking to us. There are still ways for us to be loud by being quiet.

  • What is something in your life right now that is taking up a lot of attention?
  • In a perfect world, what dream would you like to have happening loudly and boldly in your life?
  • What is stopping you from resting in a quiet place and working on a way to help your dreams become true?
Stay quiet and just listen....

Stay quiet and just listen….

P.S. The first picture of the boys hugging was not a picture of boys excited about the Blackhawks winning. It shows two boys being told to hug one of their friends. These two boys spontaneously hugged each other and did not want to let go. In my opinion, two boys showing love is a huge win. They may not receive a Stanley Cup, but they have the ability to change the world.

Which one is your mommy?

I looked at pictures of mommies and asked a preschooler, “Which one is your mommy?” The child looked at me and said, “Duhhh, the beautiful one!”

11229309_10153800280564008_7357304791989273121_nAll mothers look different, but all mothers can have perfect beauty to a child. Mothers can often be hard on themselves. They feel guilty that they do not go to a gym and exercise enough. They worry they are not making their children eat the most healthy food. They worry that they themselves are not eating the way they should. They want their hair to cooperate more in weather. They want to look good in their clothes and not be seen in the shirt with the baby’s spit up on it. They want enough sleep to make it through a day. They want a clean house that can have company over at any time. They desire time to themselves yet feel guilty to schedule that into a day. They want to have intelligent conversation and look wise while still maintaining the ability to speak in words a two year old will understand. They want to have friends, but they struggle with the balance of family and friends and only 24 hours in a day. They want to be good with money and be able to be generous to the poor. They want to have children that are intelligent, disciplined and polite and fear when a child is rude it will be a reflection back on them.

Being a mother can be exhausting. It can seem like an impossible task to accomplish in a satisfactory manner. Mother’s eyes can be discouraged. However, when you look through the eyes of a preschooler, mothers are truly beautiful! They bring a smile. They start the lifelong process of what love is. They are important beyond measure.

If you are reading this, know you are beautiful. (Even if you have hair that sticks up, three fingers, blue hair and skin and no nose!)

  • What things did your mother struggle with that you understand more now as an adult?
  • In what ways was your mother beautiful?
  • Every female can be a mother to the world, even if you will never be a biological mother. What can you do to be beautiful to others? 
  • Will you consider letting some mother know she is beautiful this Mother’s Day and any other day of the year?

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