“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

 

“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.

 

“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.

 

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 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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Who does God want you to love today?

I sat in a church with a group of preschoolers and asked them to be very still and ask God, “Who does God want you to love today?” We sat in silence as I thought about the profound answers I may hear. The first boy to eagerly raise his hand blurted, “God talked to me, and he said he wants me to love my TV and watch it all afternoon.”

If you can't name this girl, you may not know enough preschoolers.

If you can’t name this girl, you may not know enough preschoolers.

Wow, my ideas of God telling the preschoolers to love their family and friends and teachers and pets was derailed by the first child sharing he needs to love his television and watch it all afternoon. The percentages of children watching screen time is increasing in alarming rates. According to the Neilson Company, children are watching television 3.5 hours a day. 54% of children ages 4-6 would rather spend time watching television than spending time with their father.

Studies have shown that television viewing is associated with learning problems and language delays in preschoolers (Tanimura, 2007). Television viewing promotes attention problems (Christakis, 2004) and interferes with academic performance (Strasburger, 1986). More than 1,000 studies have shown an association between exposure to violent television programming and aggressive or violent behaviors in children (Strasburger, 2002), including early exposure as preschoolers and later antisocial behavior (Christakis, 2007). It is estimated that the average child views 12,000 acts of violence every year. Most network broadcasted shows for children contain 20 violent acts per hour.

With statistics like that, it no longer surprises me that television is on the minds of children. Movies like “Frozen” are very popular with my preschool friends. They talk about watching favorite things over and over while they also act out parts with great detail. The balance we all need is to help make the priorities of our hearts equal the priorities of our actions.

The average adult is worse than a child, we spend over 5 hours a day with a television which equates to a full 9 years of our lives trying to be entertained. If you start adding the screen time of going to the movies and looking up things on the internet, the numbers escalate.

We all have free will. (Any parent of a preschooler KNOWS that children will not always obey their parent.) We all can make choices. On this Valentine’s Day, let’s try to let our actions match what is really in our hearts. It is never too late to get out some glue and paper and make a Valentine for your loved ones. Also, remember that whoever you do love, you may want to spend some time with them.

My homemade Valentine given to me by a four year old.

My homemade Valentine given to me by a four year old.

  • On an average day, how much screen time do you have?
  • Will you bravely ask God who you should love today?
  • What are two things you could do today to better show how your heart aligns with your actions?

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“Who won the Super Bowl?”

I asked a preschooler, “Who won the Super Bowl?” He said, my mommy did. I asked how that happened and he said, “My mommy made some dip for the party and my daddy said, ‘Now THAT is a winner!’ Then everyone else at the party said, ‘Yes, that is a winner.'”

Now THAT'S a winner!

Now THAT’S a winner!

If you watched the Big Game, you would have seen two very amazing plays at the end. One was by a rookie player named Malcolm Butler who basically ended the game that was preceded by an amazing juggling catch by Jermaine Kearse on his back. With something as big as a Super Bowl game, it is a big deal for a team to win and receive a ring. It is also a big deal to be named MVP. It is also a big deal to walk away with the winning ball.

We look at the winning team and the players, but there are really more wins in a day than one team. One of the players, Richard Sherman has a girlfriend named Ashley Moss due to deliver a baby in a week. While the game was playing, she was helping grow a future living, breathing person. Wow, that sounds like a win to me. While the game was playing, there were four game officials reffing their first Super Bowl game, and I am sure their families felt that was a win to have them on the field. A 30 second Super Bowl advertisement could cost 4.5 million dollars. There are plenty of ad executives that are hoping their ad was a winner for their company. The National Retail Federation’s Super Bowl Spending survey estimates that 184 million viewers will have spent a combined $14.3 billion – an average of $77.88 – on food, gameday gear, decorations and TVs. Maybe the economy is one of the winners for this day. Pizzerias across the country expect a 35% increase in sales for Super Bowl Sunday. They definitely look at this day as a winning day for their business.

I am also thinking like my preschool friend that there are many, many mothers who were winners the day of the Super Bowl. They had children in the games. They had children in the stands watching. They had delicious dip they created for the party. Mom’s may never be in the NFL, but many are certainly in the Now Frequently Loved category.

As we think about all the commercials of the Super Bowl, this one was not one of them, but I think it is a winner. It may not deal with football, but I do think it honors all the moms out there who make a delicious dip for their families and are true winners in their children’s eyes.

  • Who do you think is a winner in your life?
  • Do you think the winners in your life think of themselves as winners?
  • What could you do this week to help someone recognize their winning attributes?

 

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What does our school need for Christmas?

I asked a preschooler, “What does our school need for Christmas?” He replied, “I really want to ask Santa for a new faucet, but he really only has a toy shop. I think I will have to ask Mrs. Claus to go shopping.”

handsfaucet

On this last day before Christmas, there are many things we are getting ready for. We may be baking cookies, preparing food, assembling presents, wrapping presents, writing special Christmas cards, cleaning our homes and decorating that last area we forgot about. Many of us are wishing we had a Santa and a Mrs. Claus and a supply of elves to magically get all things done.

Maybe this is a Christmas where you can take time to not worry about every little thing. The big thing is the way you treat the people who will enter into your world. The Jesus that came for the first Christmas came into a stable with hay and no presents until he was a toddler. The king did not even have one gift on his birthday, no special foods prepared, no decorations on trees and houses, no playlists carefully structured, no cards made out and no gift receipts to keep track of. All that was present for that first Christmas was love in a human form. It was a love that was so great it could wash away all our sins with no faucet required.

  • What preparations did you do for this Christmas? 
  • Are the things you do all motivated with showing others love, or are some of them motivated by relieving guilt and not being judged?
  • Realizing that even Santa cannot do everything, what could you do to make this Christmas a time of bringing love in human form as your gift?

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” St. Augustine

“Do we have a baby picture?”

A preschool teacher told a preschooler to bring a baby picture in for the beginning of the school year. The child went home and asked, “Do we have a baby picture?” The parent showed the preschooler a picture of him when he was a baby, and he said, “MOM, the teacher said I need a  baby picture! I need something MUCH smaller than this!”

Who couldn't love this baby picture?

Who couldn’t love this baby picture no matter what the size?

 

As we start this new school year, I want you to know there are wonderful preschool teachers who love it when a child listens to them. Right now they are getting details ready for children who not long ago were a baby. They are getting lesson plans ready for children to follow and are thrilled when a child wants to follow their directions.

This week at my preschool, I watched a teacher take materials out of the classroom to better wash and disinfect them. As the items were brought back in, the teacher noticed a bird had done the opposite of cleaning the item while outside which, instead of warranted frustration, brought the teacher to laughter. This same teacher also had to spend time repainting over a dozen cubbies to cover the wax that had splattered on them during the janitor’s clean up time. Another teacher was busy scrapping the walls to get them presentable. One more teacher was moving heavy furniture and sanding and painting a cabinet to make her room more attractive for her class. Another teacher was at the post office buying stamps to send special mail to some three year olds. These teachers love the children that will be in their classroom before they even get to know them.

They will cry when they graduate in the spring. They will give countless hours of preparation time for lessons, art projects, service work and extra clean up. We often think of teacher’s pay as small, yet an elementary teacher gets benefits, support staff, tenure options and the backing of unions that negotiate contracts. Preschool teachers typically get none of that yet they give beyond measure.

They give because they know that little things make a big difference. They know that a baby picture can be a part of the bigger picture of life. There actually is no “baby picture” to a teacher. A preschool teacher sees the whole big project.

  • When was the last time you did a lot of work and never thought about the monetary pay that you received?
  • If you were challenged to come up with a way to best honor those in your life who do things for you and your family that are beyond what is expected, what would you do? (Would it be more meaningful than an “Ice Bucket Challenge?)
  • Will you take a moment to think about those who impacted you when you were still in baby pictures? 

“Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.”
Marlon Brando

“Success is not a function of the size of your title but the richness of your contribution.”  Robin S. Sharma

P.S. That baby picture is my baby 23 years ago, and I truly thank his preschool teacher for all she did so long ago.

“Is your daddy big?”

I sat by three preschoolers and asked them, “Is your Daddy big?” The first child said,  “My daddy is big enough to touch the basketball hoop.” Another child said, “My daddy is big enough to touch the ceiling fan, but mommy doesn’t like that.” The last boy shared, “My daddy does not touch tall stuff, but he has a heart big enough to love me and my mommy.”

My daddy has a big heart.

My daddy has a big heart.

All people have some opinion about how big their father is and what influence they will allow their father to have. Some carry wonderful loving memories. Some carry hurtful often bitter memories of what could and should have been. Others have no memories at all and wonder what it would be like to have a fond memory of a dad coming home and playing with them. The quantity or quality of our memories does not have to define our happiness.

All fathers are bigger than their children. All children are born small and need to look up to see their father. Tonight in America, 40% of the children will go to sleep in homes in which their father does not live. Never in America’s history have so many children grown up not knowing what it means to have a father. Never have we needed fathers more and seen them less.

The best fathers have the biggest hearts. The best children take the good from those hearts and let it multiply into their own lives. We may all want to have the best car, but that is not reality. Reality is we often have a car with a little dent, a spot of rust, something that needs fixing, yet we can be grateful we can have transportation. No one needs “the best” to be happy.

If you are a father reading this, know right now you will never be “the best” father, but you certainly can share a loving heart and strive for being a father who makes a positive difference. Celebrate this Father’s Day with renewed strength to show how big your heart is. Try not to scare anyone by getting hurt in a ceiling fan.

If you are a child of any age reading this, know right now you have or had a father with flaws, but that does not have to ever keep you from enjoying your day today. You own your today, and it is up to you to use your own heart to share with others. You are able to take any good from your father and combine it with any other ingredients you want and create the you you want to be. Your father may have started your creation, but you get to finish it. There is great power in that recipe.

  • If you could tell your father one thing today, what would it be?
  • Is your heart big enough to let go of any negative thought about fathers and look only at the good?
  • Will you take the time today to look for a father that may need encouraging and offer what you can?

“When one has not had a good father, one must create one.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies out there. No matter how big and tall you are, people can always look up to you.

 

“What is your favorite thing you see in your new preschool class?”

I asked a child, “What is your favorite thing you see in your new preschool class?”  She looked carefully all over a room teachers had spent weeks preparing. Then she looked at her mother and father and said, “My favorite thing in the room is my mommy and daddy.”

Loving note from a mommy and daddy

Loving note from a mommy and daddy

This note was written by a mommy and daddy for their child as she started preschool. Love is something you can sometimes feel on paper. Love is something that mommies and daddies give well. Love is what every child needs.

I see how much time, love and sweat teachers put into preparing a room for the fall. They laminate. They paint. They put up bulletin board paper. They arrange a room. They rearrange a room. They rearrange it again. They write names on cubbies. They rewrite names on cubbies when names are misspelled and some children never end up attending. They bleach toys until they start smelling like a pool. They make snack notes, calendars, getting to know you papers, attendance sheets, job charts and emergency plans.

They do this all to make a difference in the life of a child. Teachers do make a HUGE difference in the life of a child. However, mommies and daddies can still be the winner in the “favorite thing award.” Daddies can be the best toys in a room. Mommies can be better than the most delicious snack and be the best encourager. Mommies and daddies can truly be the favorite thing in any circumstance.

  • What is your “favorite thing” in your life?
  • What do you think is hard about being a mommy or daddy?
  • What can you do to help mommies and daddies in the world be the best they can be?

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.” Steve Jobs

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

“World’s busiest control tower”

I looked up at the Air Traffic control tower this weekend in Oshkosh, WI. It had a large banner that said, “World’s busiest control tower.”  I stood by a preschool boy as I read the banner out loud. He looked at me and said, “I have the world’s busiest mom, and she doesn’t even need a tower or banner to do it!”

World's Busiest Control Tower, Oshkosh, WI

World’s Busiest Control Tower, Oshkosh, WI

When you fly into Oshkosh during the week of the big Airshow, it is a crazy, busy time. You get special flight rules for landing, and you wag your wings so the controller can quickly see you and proceed to the next aircraft. We have landed with multiple planes on the same runway all trying to listen and follow the directions of that world’s busiest control tower.

As busy as that control tower can be, a mother can put on her own show if need be. She can maneuver making breakfast, packing a backpack, tying a shoe, talking on the phone and letting the dog outside all in one sweeping motion.  She can do this also without the help of a child repeating the directives back at her. Rarely does a preschooler helpfully say, “Roger, copy that.”

Planes operate in IFR conditions at times. This means pilots cannot see clearly enough and need instruments to help them. Mothers too often cannot see too clearly, but they don’t get the luxury of instruments. They use their intuition and their experience to find that hidden shoe that if not found will produce tears. They also find toys that have been hidden yet contain no GPS tracker. Mothers are left to navigate their children’s flight plan with not much preflight notice.  A young child can change its trajectory and air speed in a split second. He can amend a plan quicker than a pilot can reach for his altimeter.

A pilot can have the luxury of using an autopilot.  A mother may think she can exist in an autopilot mode, but children will quickly disprove this. There are too many variables that an autopilot is just not feasible. There is too much turbulence.  There are too many upgrades that need to be met. The need for sick bags just further complicates a mother’s busyness. There are too many things going on to carefully talk to a control tower.

A mother’s job can be busier than the Oshkosh control tower or cockpit. She does it without a beacon. She does it without a harness seatbelt or helmet. She does it without the advantage of ForeFlight making a flight plan for you. She also does this all without the FAA regulated duty and rest rules. There is no mandatory off duty time for a mother. There also is no special type rating that must be shown in order to operate a family.

She also does this all without a big banner or tower saying she is busy. Besides, there really is no banner needed for stating the obvious.

  • If you could talk to the world’s busiest control tower and they could help you with anything, what would you ask?
  • What types of things occupy the days of the typical busy mother?
  • If you had to get a type rating as a mother, what would you want yours to say?
  • What could you do this week to help some mother that is too busy?

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.”
- Maya Angelou

What is your favorite pet?

I asked a preschooler, “What is your favorite pet?” . He said, “A rabbit is best because when you get tired of it you can eat it.”

Rabbit playing at school

Rabbit playing at school

Preschoolers can be very practical. They can become extremely attached to things that adults do not have much value in. They can love a shirt that they need to wear everyday. They can adore a toy and want to take it with them in the car. They can become obsessed with a stuffed animal and need to sleep with it and bring it to school. Then the same preschooler can talk about eating his rabbit if need be.  Permanence is not the same in preschoolers’ mind as in adults’.

Preschoolers can love anything and in the same token they are not always attached to what adults would think important and meaningful. We each have our own values, and we do not have to understand each other. We can look at a preschooler as immature, but do we also look at adults that way as well?

Adults can be just as varied as a preschooler. Some adults LOVE their car and their phone and their stereo. They seemingly take better care of their motorcycle than their spouse.  Some adults LOVE their pets and would do anything they could imagine for them. Other adults look at a pet as a nuisance that you put up with. They could not ever see the value or fun in a motorcycle. They look at a stereo as a way to play background noise. They view a phone as something that annoys them while in a store. They look at a car as a way to get to work.

Adults as well as preschoolers do not see eye to eye on the value of things we own. Maybe children are not as different from adults as we think. Rabbit meat is all white meat that is lower in cholesterol than chicken or turkey and has the highest percentage of protein and the lowest percentage of fat of ANY meat. Even though the average American has not tried rabbit does not mean it should be discounted. Even if we do not embrace other people’s opinions, maybe we can learn from them if we remain open to differences.

  • What favorite object in your life would you really miss if it left you?
  • How would most of your friends value that object?
  • What things in your life have changed value at different times?
  • Will you take some time to think about how and why people have different values to objects or pets  and how you could honor them?

Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit.  ~R.E. Shay

“Why are you so happy when the ball does not go in the hole?”

I was at the miniature golf course and a preschooler was squealing with excitement.  I assumed she had made a hole in one. In a short moment, the child squealed again. By the third explosion of excitement, I felt I needed to watch this child prodigy. Every time the preschooler hit the ball and it did not go in the hole, the child would shriek with excitement. I asked her,  “Why are you so happy when the ball doesn’t go in the hole?” She looked at her dad and said, “If I get the ball in the hole, the game is over.  If I keep playing, I get more time with my daddy!”

"My club hitting the ball"

“My club hitting the ball”

I grew up with a father who played golf most weekends and watched many a tournament on the television. I never heard him excited about a high score. I never heard him joyful about not getting that little ball in the hole.  I was taught to play by the rules. You have to take a penalty shot if you want to get out of the rough. You cannot walk across the line of another player’s putt on the green.  The farthest player from the pin hits the first shot.

There are many reasons why people play golf. Some enjoy the exercise. Others like the competition or the personal challenge. Some people see the game as a chance to have fun or to enjoy the outdoors. Others like the game because of the friends and relationships that are formed on the course. As I always followed rules, I never thought much about the rules of a relationship. A relationship needs time to develop. Relationships need as many holes as possible.

Sometimes we get caught up in the daily rules and forget that the relationships can be more important than the rules. Sometimes that time on the golf course with a loved one is more important than the final score. Sometimes it takes a preschool shrieking about not getting a ball in a hole to remind us of that.

  • Who in your life would you like to spend more time with?
  • What prevents you from spending more time building relationships?
  • If you could ignore some rules in the world, what would they be?
  • Will you take time this week to give yourself a Mulligan when you need a do-over in a relationship?

“Do I have to know rules and all that crap? Then forget it.”   John Daly (when asked whether he’d like to join the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, after winning the ’95 British Open at St. Andrews)

“I have always believed there are far too many rules in golf. For me, if you cannot write them all on the back of a matchbox then something is wrong.
” -Henry Longhurst

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

“Can Your Daddy Hop?”

We hosted a Hop-a-thon for our preschoolers and their dads, and I asked them, “Can your Daddy hop?”  One girl quickly shouted out, “My dad might have trouble with this! My mom tells him to “Hop to it” all the time, and he just is not getting it.”

"My Dad Hopping"

“My Dad Hopping”

Dad’s can get a wrong reputation. They truly are more capable than they get credit for. We see sitcoms where dads fumble in the kitchen. They struggle changing diapers, and they sit in front of the TV and drink beer all night long. This may be fodder for a TV series, but it is not the real life of the millions of good fathers in the world. Good fathers need to be honored. It is said that respect needs to be earned but honor is something you give.

For those who believe the Ten Commandments is a good list to follow, number four says we need to honor fathers and mothers.  Honoring does not involve making crude jokes at a father’s expense. It does not mean we assume dads are only meant to bring home a paycheck for the family.

It took 58 years after Mother’s Day became a national holiday for Father’s Day to finally be accepted. The members of congress were not eager to “hop to it” to get the holiday official for the United States.  A quote from florists has been used that says, “fathers don’t have the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.” It is up to us to change the reputations of dads. For those wanting to see current research on fathers and the ability to download a free book about forming a lifelong bond or 5 things every kid must get from their dad, you can Click here. It is about time dad’s get some respect.

  • Why does society seem to enjoy making fun of fathers?
  • What can you do to show respect to fathers you know?
  • Will you help honor father’s this week?
  • Will you consider helping a father hop to his responsibilities this week?

 “We like to hop. We like to hop on top of Pop. STOP You must not hop on Pop.”              Dr. Seuss.

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

“Can you buy daddy glasses for his birthday?”

A preschooler asked her mother, “Can you buy daddy glasses for his birthday?” The mother asked why he thought his daddy needed glasses. He said, “Every time I ask Daddy to play a game with me, he says, ‘We’ll see.’ I know I can see the games just fine, but Daddy must not see them because we never play them!”

Do YOU need glasses?

Do YOU need glasses?

Sometimes fathers get busy and do not take the time to really go into a child’s world. A child is wired for fun and play. Adults used to have that wiring but somehow life can short-circuit fun and games and replace it with work and more work. However, we really need to work hard to play.

Dad’s often play differently than moms, and that is okay. Dad’s can have a hard time playing “house” with a little girl. “House” has no rules. There is no winner. There is no way to even know when the play will end. Board games can also be hard as dads don’t like to let others win but also do not like to deal with a crying child who lost to a competitive father. Dads can feel ill-equipped to deal with a young child that is always a few steps away from a temper tantrum.

There is great news for fathers that has recently been grounded in research. One thing that most fathers are good at is chasing their children around and getting them all excited. Mothers are quick to say, “Settle down. Someone’s going to get hurt!”, but research is telling us dads are onto something important. Click here to see how Dad’s roughhousing helps early development. The study tied to this link suggests that rough and tumble play helps a young child’s brain develop the ability to manage emotions. When I was young, my father would come home from work, and I would request P.T. No, I did not need physical therapy. I needed something more important – Play Time! My dad would swing me by my arms in circles, and he  would let me crawl up his tall body so that I could flip over and land on my feet. He would throw me up in the air and catch me. I loved P.T.. I played board games with my mother, but I had P.T. with my father.

My dad never took an early childhood class. He was not an educator. He did not read child development books. He also did not wear glasses. He worked hard each day, but somehow knew that play was important. Children need moms and dads that can play. I think if they had more P.T. they just may need less Mental Therapy as they get older.

  • What do you remember playing with your father?
  • What was the last thing you remember playing with a child?
  • What are the games that a child would like to play with you?
  • What can you do when you feel there really is no time in the day to play?
  • When in your day do you need to wear glasses to have a clearer perspective?

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

Who are you waiting for?

I was in the hospital waiting area, and I asked a preschooler, “Who are you waiting for?” He shared he was waiting for his grandmother to get her heart checked. I then shared that my mother too was having her heart checked and she was getting a stent. His eyes opened wide as he smiled and said, “Wow, that is so cool! I wish my grandma was getting stilts! I think it would be so cool if she was taller!”

My tall happy grandma

My tall, happy grandma

As I looked around the hospital waiting room, it was full of anxious adults. I saw no one excited except this one preschooler. He was able to look at my situation and be envious. As adults, it is easy to look at our circumstances as a gloom and doom situation. Hospitals are full of broken bones, bad hearts, joint pains and diseases. No one wants these conditions, yet it is up to each of us to choose how we react to them.

When presented with a challenging situation, thinking about things we are thankful for can increase our happiness by 25%. Click here to read about increasing happiness through gratitude. When our mind can change a disease into a diversity to deal with or change a broken bone into a colorful cast, it can become easy to change a stent into a cool stilt. A change like that can change the whole atmosphere in a hospital waiting room. If a hospital waiting room can change its atmosphere with the positive thoughts of one preschooler, certainly the adults in the world can do their part for the rest of the world. We can all take a deep breath, put on our stilts and stand tall as we go forth with feelings of gratitude.

  • What is something you are facing that is challenging this week?
  • What things are you grateful for this week?
  • Which of those two questions came easier for you to answer?
  • Who are YOU waiting for to bring you happiness?

“Being tall is an advantage, especially in business. People will always remember you. And if you’re in a crowd, you’ll always have some clean air to breathe.”  Julia Child

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

 

 

“Why does your mommy love you?”

I asked a preschooler, “Why does your mommy love you?” He said, “Because that is my mommy’s job. Mommies love kids, and my mommy is really good at her job. Daddy wants her job to be cleaning the kitchen, but she really is not that good at that one.”

"My mommy loves me!"

“My mommy doing her job.”

Everyone has a job in this world that is interested in someone or something else. If you are a banker you are interested in people who are investors. If you are a doctor, you are interested in people who are patients. If you are a researcher you are interested in people who can be a statistic.

If you are a mother, you are interested in your child. You have other things you must do and care for, but your love for your child is the most important part of being a mother. You want your child to be the best he or she can be. Love allows you to accept a child that is different from you. Love allows you to accept a child that looks you in the face and says, “NO, I will NOT do that!” Love allows you to pick up countless little toys off the floor when you are tired and sweep crumbs in areas you never thought food was allowed.

The job description of loving a child is the biggest one a person will ever have. It is through that love that the child is truly formed. A baby may be physically formed in a mother’s womb, but he or she is emotionally formed while in a mother’s presence. That is a job that is truly more important than cleaning a kitchen.

  • Why do you think mommies love their children?
  • What happens if a child does not see a mother performing her job with love?
  • What can mothers do when it is just plain hard to love?
  • Will you try loving someone today that may look like they don’t deserve it?

“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter and became Picasso.” Pablo Picasso

 

“Why do you love your mom?

I asked a preschooler, “Why do you love your mom?” She looked puzzled at me and said, “That is a silly question! I love her because I do.”

Love makes a heart happy.

Love makes a heart happy.

“I love her because I do”. Do you notice that a child does not say, “I love her, but…..” or “I love her if….” A child loves because he or she just does, nothing else. What a blessing that is to experience a love that is so unconditional and so pure and so confident. As “mature adults” we often are so conditional with our love. We love our husband, but we sure would be happier if he would make dinner for us. We love our wife, but we sure would be happier if she would dress up for us and hold our hand when we go out for dinner. We love our precious children, but it sure would be nice if they would pick up their toys or if they would do their homework without reminders or if they would call us more often. The list goes on and on. We love deeply, but we are happier when or if something else goes with it.

We can all get better at loving “just because”. We can all stop our expectations and love like a preschooler. We all did it at one time in our lives. It is never too late to get back to that question that maybe is silly to answer. Loving someone “just because” is something we can all do if we give it a try.

  • Why do you love your mother?
  • When was a time you remember conditions being put on love?
  • Will you look for one person today that you can love unconditionally?
  • Will you look for some mother or mother-to-be this week to wish a Happy Mother’s Day?

“Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”              Sam Keen

Can you hold the door open?

I asked a preschooler, “Can you hold the door open?“.  She opened the door for her grandmother and asked, “Is this big enough for your fatness?”

IMG_1174

That child is now 27 years old. She loves that story because to her it shows the great love she has for her grandmother. She shares that to a child, bigger is better, and you need to make sure you open your heart and doors for those you love. You want to make sure you are taking care of them. Love is measured in size to a young child. When you ask a very young child how big she is, she often stretches her arms and says, “SOOO big.” She is proud of her bigness. She is happy to be growing and happy to share her growing love.

Somehow that happiness does not translate into media and advertising. Unrealistic expectations start to follow us quickly as we leave early childhood. If we could look at each other as swelling with love, what a difference that could make. Body Image Statistics say that more than half of American ten year olds wish they were thinner. The  majority of adults also have some issue with their body image. If we could see ourselves as filled with love instead of filled with fatness, we just may find more room for peace.

  • What size door opening would you need to let your spirit of love pass through?
  • Would you be able to squeeze through a crack or would you need a door wide open?
  • Will you hold the door for someone this week and silently think about the size they may need?

“When we lose twenty pounds…we may be losing the best twenty pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty.”
 Woody Allen

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