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

“Do you know what we do on 9/11?

‎I asked a preschooler “Do you know what we do on 9/11?” He thought for a bit and said, “Yes, we look for number 10.”

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The preschoolers in my school were not alive when 9/11 happened. Many of their parents were not even married at that time. 9/11 is something that is hard for a preschooler to understand. It is hard for adults as well to understand.

The nation often takes a moment of silence on this day to reflect and think about what 9/11 really means. Maybe as we are thinking, we can do what my preschool friend suggested and look for number 10.

May we embrace the end of Psalm 10 that says, ” You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.”

In 2013, 47 million people used 9/11 as a day of service to do good deeds. My own preschoolers are partnering with an agency to bring food to the elderly to honor this day.

Will you too consider doing an act of service for someone else?

Instead of the usual reflection questions offered in these posts, we may all do well to be silent and look for number 10…….

” You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.” Psalm 10:17-18

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

 

 

 

Wow, you have beautiful shoes!

A preschooler was proudly wearing her new shoes. I said, “Wow, you have beautiful new shoes!” She smiled broadly, and her mother quickly said, “What do you say?” The preschooler kept smiling and said, “Yea. I DO have beautiful new shoes!”

Sometimes telling the truth is just as important as being polite and thanking someone for a compliment. Starting a new school year requires confidence. It requires pride in your work and delight in your surroundings.

As adults we may not be starting a new school year in a classroom, but we are encountering new activities and challenges no matter where life leads us. We need to bring out our bold confidence and be proud of what we do and who we are. We need to take the confidence of a preschooler and remain humble while still exuding  joy in our choices.

  • What shoes do you own that make you really smile?
  • What would you like others to notice about you?
  • What about yourself brings you joy?
  • What would happen if you boldly followed your dreams without fear?

“What do you think freedom is?”

I asked a preschooler, “What do you think freedom is?” He replied, “My dad tells my mom to go have some freedom when she goes shopping. My dad thinks shopping is dumb, but getting things free is good”

Every parade can be a reason to celebrate our freedom.

Every parade can be a reason to celebrate our freedom.

Freedom in the United States is often taken for granted since we have so much of it. We have free enterprise, and free trade and a free market economy. However, all our freedoms in this country do have a price. There have been so many people in our past that have given their lives in the name of the freedom we have today.

There are also current military families that are sacrificing daily in order for the general population to live in a free country. On this day that we celebrate the beginning of our country with fireworks, parades and picnics with family and friends, let us all take a moment to also be thankful. We have a lot of wonderful things available to us in the stores all over the nation. People from other countries are amazed that anything you need is available here.

However, just for a moment, maybe it is good to think of shopping as dumb yet getting to live in the land of the free is good…..

  • What is the last thing you remember getting for free?
  • What things do we get free in this country that we are apt to take for granted?
  • Will you take a moment today and thank someone for their service? Whether it is a military person, a police officer, a clerk in a store or a neighbor who keeps their yard looking nice, everyone enjoys a word of encouragement for their acts of service. 

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Ronald Reagan

 

“Can you tell me about your mom?”

I asked a preschooler, “Can you tell me about your mom?” Here is what he shared:

My mom is 14,7 years old. She weighs 16 pounds. She is 100 inches tall. She has a little bit shiny hair. She has greenish eyes. She likes to watch the weatherman on T.V.. She likes to eat cocoa wheats and peanuts. She does not like to eat poop. She doesn’t like to climb a climbing tree and hates noise. She likes to teach me.  If I could give her anything, I would give her her own bedroom. She looks pretty when she wears nothing. Oh, I mean I don’t know what she looks pretty in. Oops!

I love her because I do.”

My mom

My mom

Asking children about their mommies has always been a fun thing to do. You never know what they may say, and you never know what you can fully believe. Just as you are thinking they are so insightful, they throw you off by telling you something you just cannot fully understand.

With a child, it is hard to tell lying from embellishing to misunderstanding to just not being developmentally ready to understand the truth. Judging people as adults, we can run into the same problems. We may like to think we know people and can understand their motives and personalities, but we really can’t.

Everyone has the ability to judge others and form opinions about who they are and what they enjoy. Everyone also has the ability to be wrong a lot.

That mommy that was described as 14, 7 years old is actually me almost twenty years ago. Some of the observations of my preschool son were not the wording I would have chosen to describe myself, yet I loved them because I do.

I want to wish all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day! May all of you reflect on what you would like to be remembered for and what you can do to make that memory a reality.

  • If someone were to describe you, what do you think would be the first things they would say?
  • What are the first things you would prefer they say?
  • What can you do to make impressions of you more what you would like reflected?
  • Will you take the time this week to talk to either your mother or another mother and tell them they are loved even if they are not fully understood?

“It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.”
Erma Bombeck

 

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 see any four-leaf clovers?

When we were outside, I asked a preschooler,  “Do you see any four- leaf clovers?” She looked at the clover plants and replied, “I don’t know how to count, but I can look for things that are beautiful. Beautiful things are easy to find.”

Looking for beauty

Looking for beauty

 

According to tradition, a four-leaf clover brings good luck. Luck may not have as much importance as beauty to a preschooler. “Lucky” is an abstract concept that is foreign to a preschooler. Beauty is something that comes quite early to a preschooler’s concepts. This may suite adults well too.

Too many of us look for luck to change our lives. We feel if we only had that “lucky break” we would be happy. We often feel ourselves or others don’t deserve the bad or good luck they have.  Some of us look to lucky charms to help ward off bad things that may come our way.

The leaves from a clover plant are believed to represent different things. The first leaf represents faith. The second represents hope, and the third represents love. If you find a fourth leaf, it represents luck. If you look at faith, hope and love, maybe we really don’t need luck. Just maybe that preschooler is correct. If we look for beauty instead of luck, we will have the full benefits of faith, hope and love.

  • What is your opinion about “luck”?
  • What do you do when you have “bad luck”?
  • If you stopped thinking about being lucky or unlucky and searched for beauty, how could that change your life?
  • Will you take a moment today and look for beauty? (You may just be lucky enough to find some!)

“If a man cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?” Stanislaw J. Lec

The Power of Preschoolers will change your mind…. if you let it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! The picture was taken last March 17th.  We are not “lucky enough” here in Illinois this year to see green clovers yet with this winter, but soon!

 

“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.

 

Will the groundhog see his shadow?

I asked a preschooler, “Will the groundhog see his shadow?” He said his mommy is always telling his dog to “Stay on the ground”. He shared maybe if he stays on the ground, he will be closer to his shadow to see it.

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Preschoolers can really make you think. They take something obvious and make it new. They can turn a dark day into a bright one.

In Illinois we have had a lot of cloudy weather lately. Our weather calendars have really been waiting patiently for some sunshine. Sunshine just makes it seem like a happier time. While clouds can cover our sun, our humans spirit has the ability to bring light and love into even the darkest situation. Even if we are close to the ground.

  • How has the climate been in your life recently?                                                    –more sunny or more cloudy?
  • If the groundhog predicts 6 more weeks of winter, what would you like to see happen in the next six weeks?
  • What can you do to make that a reality?
  • When clouds cover your days, what can you do to bring your own sunshine to the world?

“What does your daddy want for Christmas?”

I asked a preschooler, “What does your daddy want for Christmas?” She smiled and said, “He wants to buy me a Tinkerbell and an Elsa dress and a Snow Globe Elsa doll, but it’s a secret so don’t tell him”

What is on your Christmas list?

What is on your Christmas list?

It is easy to think of children as greedy during the holiday season. There is a lot of “I want” and “I have to have” type phrases that come from their mouths. We try to share that it is better to give than to receive, but that is a hard concept for young children.

As much as I do a lot of servant oriented learning and helping preschoolers think beyond just themselves, this little girl’s request for her daddy for Christmas just had to make me smile. Fathers in their purest form are altruistic and generous beyond measure. They provide what a child needs without question. They allow a child to form a level of trust that helps them build toward self actualization so that other healthy needs are met. Without a foundation of trust, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can lead to despair and depression all through adulthood.

A child who can trust her father and know him well enough that he will provide for her needs is a fortunate child. (Now the difference between needs and wants is a whole other blog entry. What do you really need for Christmas?   🙂 )

For those who celebrate Christmas, we have the opportunity to look at the most generous father in the universe. The creator of the universe is someone who gave the entire world his most prized asset as he sent his son as a baby. Earthly fathers do not always provide every need, but a heavenly father can give without ceasing. Kings love making little girls feel like a princess.

  •  How can we ask for our desires without sounding like we are selfish? (Desires do not have to be kept a secret.)
  • Who do you put your most trust in?
  • What do you think your heavenly father wants to give you for Christmas? 
  • What is something you could offer back in return for your daily gift of life?

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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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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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“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?

“
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.