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

“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!

“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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“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.

“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

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.

“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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Today is the National Day of Prayer

I shared with some preschoolers that today is a special holiday when anyone can talk to God. It is called the National Day of Prayer. A preschooler looked strangely at me and said, “Maybe grown-ups should know that every day is a day we can talk to God. We don’t need a holiday. We could use another Christmas, but we really don’t need a holiday to be told to pray.”

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As the leaders of our country all stand together and use prayer as a tool for betterment, it is interesting to look at the history of this day. According to Wikipedia, the National Day of Prayer shares common roots with the celebration of Thanksgiving; both were national proclamations establishing a day of prayer, but in the New England Colonies under British rule, traditional observances in late fall called for prayer and thanksgiving, while observances in the spring or summer called for prayer and fasting. The fall observance was established by President Abraham Lincoln as the official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863. The spring observance was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1952 as the National Day of Prayer.

For over 60 years, we have been using the first Thursday of the month of May to offer prayer as a whole nation. This year, the theme of Day of Prayer will be “Lord, Hear Our Cry”. Prayers from any person in any religion or belief are encouraged by the Senate to turn to God and pray.

I have no idea how many people actually follow through with the Senate’s request. One day, one request, and no consequence that we can overtly see if we don’t follow through may be hard to track.  If one day is so hard to get a majority of people to gather around, I can only imagine how hard it would be to join together each day.

However, as my preschool friend shared, we really don’t need a holiday to pray in America. We are fortunate to live in a free country that allows us to pray each day whenever we can. Often we hear that you need to use things or you will lose them. This may be one of the times we follow an axiom.

  • If your family celebrates Thanksgiving each year, do you also celebrate the National Day of Prayer?
  • What could you do to make a day of prayer something meaningful to you?
  • What could be different if people would pray more than one day a year? 
  • Will you consider being like a preschooler who just cannot understand why one day of prayer  is enough? Will you let God hear our cry?

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“Tell me about your Easter dinner”

I asked a preschooler, “Tell me about your Easter dinner.” He said, “My tummy was really, really empty, and then I ate a lot and was really, really full. My Grandpa said he ate enough so that he will never need to eat again, but I don’t know if that is true. What is true?”

Easter Dinner for a Preschooler

Easter Dinner for a Preschooler

Wow! Should we ever make a grandparent out to be a liar? What is the truth for a preschooler? The truth about eating is someone really should be eating again after a month, or there will be a big problem.

The preschooler was eating on Easter though, and Easter can be a holiday with special rules. The true Christian story about Easter can be told simply with an equation of only four words.

It’s empty = We’re full

An empty tomb is something that allows people to be filled to capacity so that they too may live forever and need nothing ever again. The grandfather may have just explained the entire theological concept of Easter by explaining he has been given something that will last him a lifetime and beyond. His needs are met.

When a preschooler asks you, ‘What is true?” I would suggest you choose your words very wisely. There is often more to truth than meets our eye or our stomach.

  • Think about a time you ate a lot and totally filled your stomach.
  • What feelings do you have when you eat a lot?
  • What is the truth of Easter for you?
  • Is your truth something you share with others as a dish to pass or do you keep it to yourself?

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”                1 Corinthians 15:14

 

“Why did Jesus Die?

A preschooler was asked, “Why did Jesus die?” He replied, “Because the bunny bit him!”

Bunnies can have big teeth

Bunnies can have big teeth

Preschoolers and Easter are a complicated situation. Easter is filled with bunnies and candy in the stores, yet the true story of Easter is so complex and filled with death, life from death, angels, forgiveness and the weight and sin of the world. Those concepts are complex for an adult let alone a three year old!

At my preschool we reenacted the story of Easter including the events of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the cross, the resurrection and how our current lives intersect with the story. Again, all are in-depth concepts that theologians interact with. However, preschoolers can amaze us at their depth of thinking.

Be ready to see their depth…….

While drinking the grape juice with our bread, a preschooler shared, “Hey, I need MORE juice here!” It is a good Christian theologian who says, “Yes, we do need more blood of Jesus in our lives here!”

Another preschooler took the little communion cup and said, “This is my medicine.” It is also a good Christian theologian who says, “Yes, Jesus can be the medicine I need.”

We shared that when Jesus was here, he told people to take the bread and drink and always remember Him. One preschooler refused to take either. She looked at me and said, “I remember Jesus everyday. I really don’t need to eat anything to remember Him.” Only the deepest spiritual lives remember their source of power at all times without any reminders. IMG_2571

When we passed out the bread, one preschooler shared, “I love honey on my bread, but if this is bread from Jesus, it probably is already really sweet.” Another thing a Christian theologian knows is that everything that does come from Christ is meant to be sweet in your life.

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Easter is complex, but it truly is a story that young preschoolers can interpret. A young three year old shared this with his mother today, “Once upon a time, the soldiers took Jesus and put a sharp crown on Jesus’ head and He died. They put him in a cave and they wrapped him up in a big blanket. A lady came and visited Jesus, she was a magic lady and she gave him muscles. The soldiers moved a big stone in front of the cave and then he was locked inside. But He was super strong and moved the Boulder and then he’s not dead. He is, he is alive! He is alive! The people LOVE Jesus. That’s it.”

The first thing I contemplated was the “magic lady” in his version. In talking with his mother, she wondered if the holy spirit resembles magic to a three year old. I have known plenty of adults who do not understand the holy spirit and the true “magical” power it holds. However, the final essence of this Easter story version has a powerful ending. “He is alive! The people LOVE Jesus. That’s it.” I truthfully have never spoken to a theologian who could offer the story of Easter in a more succinct sentence.

By the way, the preschooler who thought Jesus had been bitten by the rabbit, walked out of my school singing the song in the following link. I don’t know if a rabbit was there when Jesus died, but I do know he would have been surprised by an empty tomb.

Click here to see a message from some of my preschool friends.

  • What part of the Easter story is hardest for you to believe?
  • How would our world be different if ALL people would LOVE Jesus?
  • There are a lot of people who only think of a bunny at Easter, is there anything you would be able to do to change that? 
  • If you could have “magic lady” at your disposal, what would you ask for this Easter?

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“What are you doing on the chalkboard?”

I watched a preschooler draw a chalk drawing and then get out the eraser. I asked, “What are you doing on the chalkboard?” He said, “I am hiding my picture! Now it is only in my head!”

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When we erase things on the chalkboard, we think they are gone. We like seeing things disappear ready for a new creation. However, some things really do not just disappear even though we can’t see them.

Memories can be strong. They can hold things that no chalkboard will ever hold. Memories can bring back emotions, smells, textures and words that are brighter than any chalkboard could retrieve. We all need to try to live our lives so that even when the outward signs of our lives are erased, the inward memories remain positive things to hold onto.

  • Do you have a memory you would like to erase?
  • What is a memory you hope will never fade?
  • What things could you do to help use all of your memories to work together to create a collectively good picture?

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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 is decluttering?”

A  mother shared with her preschooler that she was going to a meeting about decluttering.  The child asked, “What is decluttering?” The mother explained she was going to learn about how to get rid of things she did not need anymore. The preschooler quickly went to the dad and said, “Dad, I need to stick with you because I think mom is going to a meeting to learn how to get rid of us!”

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At the decluttering meeting this week sponsored by Lifetree Cafe, we learned that clutter is anything we don’t love, don’t need or don’t use. Our minds were on physical items and how to clear new spaces for the new year. However, these same concepts can be applied to people. We want to tell children we will love them forever, and we will never leave them, but sometimes things do change. Divorces happen. Deaths occur. We move across the country and leave good friends or family.

Sometimes it is right to let people leave from our lives. Abuse and neglect are not things to tolerate in a healthy life. We need to be strong and look at every physical thing and every breathing person and evaluate where they belong in our lives and how much of our heart they will occupy. Children and adults thrive on being loved, and the biggest gift you can give someone is a large place in your heart far from the clutter of anything to distract you.

Clutter is distracting. It takes us away from what we really value. It takes up space so that other things cannot fit. Less stuff can mean less to organize, less to clean and less to store which can give you more room to breathe. Less just may be the way to more. The trick is to calculate what are the right things to declutter from your life.

  • What are three things you truly value?
  • What can you do to show your loved ones that they will not be a casualty of you decluttering your life?
  • What are some things you really do need to let go of so that your loved ones have more room in your life?

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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.”

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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

I just have to share….

A preschooler told me, “Mommy says its good to share so I just have to share my Christmas list with you. Be ready, it is a lot to remember. ”

I want to share something...

I want to share something…

I had a mother come to my preschool office this week and say, “I just have to share something and maybe your blog could use it.” (Luckily it was not too long for me to remember!) She shared she is very early in a pregnancy and has fears of losing the baby like she has experienced in the past. She has been busy praying for a healthy baby or a quick miscarriage before she bonds too closely with the child or the stamina to see the good in whatever happens. In her heartfelt prayers, God has been silent. She has felt like there is no sign of what will happen. Her prayer to hear God was answered through her preschooler. About two hours after her prayer for a message, her daughter sat by her side and said, “Mommy, did you know that when you are sad, God is sad too?”

With tears in her eyes, this mother shared that the Holy Spirit spoke through her preschooler and comforted her in her time of need.  Preschoolers are powerful people. They have only been in this world for a short time yet have the ability to change lives in profound ways. Fetuses also have the ability to change lives. If they are in the world for a week or a month, a few months or are delivered full term, lives surrounding them may never be the same.

The tip of a pen is quite small but it can create anything we can imagine. The little tip of a pen is the same size as a fetus as it begins to grow, but small can do big things. It is as if the fetus is saying, “Love me as I grow, I have things to do. I may be small now, but I will always love you.”

After only five weeks, the fetus is the size of a sesame seed which seems still very small, but he has a brain and a spine, and his heart is beating. The sesame seed gives a lot of oil for people all over the world to eat even though it is one of the smallest seeds. Small can do big things. That fetus is still saying, “Love me as I grow, I have things to do. I may be small now, but I will always love you.”

Small things can love a lot. No matter what the size of a creation, it can give and receive love. No one knows how long our children will live. The only thing we can know is how long we can offer love. Emotions are up to us.

The God I know who creates new life knows the joy that life can bring. He also knows the sadness that can come when we are not as close as we want to be. Closeness brings joy and distance brings pain. Whenever you can, get as close to love as possible. If it involves sitting close on a couch with a preschooler as she shares words of comfort, smile and know you are loved.

  • When you are sad, do you typically suffer in silence or do you share with others in your world?
  • What would look different if you would accept the love that a small thing can offer you?
  • If you are a person who prayers, will you take time to ask God to show up for you, and wait in holy anticipation at how you will hear an answer? (Make sure there is room for a preschooler in your life in case that is how your ears will hear a message. They just may also have their own long list to share with you.)

God said, “You don’t have to worry about love. As long as I’m existing, you will be loved.” Anonymous

“Love me as I grow, I have things to do. I may be small now, but I will always love you.” Quote from every child who has ever been conceived