“Do you know what we do on 9/11?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Wow, you have beautiful shoes!

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

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

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

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

“What do you think freedom is?”

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

Every parade can be a reason to celebrate our freedom.

Every parade can be a reason to celebrate our freedom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Do you see any four-leaf clovers?

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

Looking for beauty

Looking for beauty

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Will the groundhog see his shadow?

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

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“Do we yell?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What is your favorite color?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Who is number one?

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

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

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

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

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“I wanna be thankful”

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

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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

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

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

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

Albert Einstein

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

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

 

“You have to be good.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What will you do this New Year?

I asked a preschooler, “What will you do this New Year?” He said, “I don’t think I am done getting old yet so I really should not get new.”

Hope you can piece together your new year to make it what you want.

Hoping you can piece together your new year to make it what you want….

2015 is a new opportunity for everyone. We make resolutions, we look for new beginnings and we hope our past failures will not follow us. Out with the old and in with the new is a common thought as we declutter not only our physical spaces but our internal souls. As we look at starting fresh and imagining who we want to be, it is not wrong to embrace the past and not rush into making changes where they don’t belong.

Some of us don’t need a lot of new in our lives. We like many aspects of our lives and don’t want to have a new microwave oven with so many buttons that we can’t remember which one to push. We don’t desire a computer that keeps asking us to update its operating system. However, the world moves fast. There is now smart clothing we can wear that will tell us which muscles we are using and how efficient our movements are. There are outlets that monitor our electricity usage and allows us to shut things off from across the country with a phone. We can even feed our dog with an iPhone app. If you are not good at throwing with accuracy, there has been a garbage can invented that will move to match the trajectory of what you throw at it. New inventions to solve problems are something we will always have.

The trick is to figure out what in our life is really a problem that needs a change and what is something that is old and working just fine. A new year does not need to be a time to do everything new. It can be a time to be grateful for the old. The balance between the two is what we all need to find.

  • What is something from your past that you don’t want ever to change?
  • What is something that you would like to change in this next year?
  • How can you find peace when what you don’t want to change actually does change and what you want to change just does not happen?

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
Hal Borland

 

“Do you like the colorful leaves?”

I asked a preschooler, “Do you like the colorful leaves?” He said, “I like it when my mommy leaves, and then I can use any color paint I like. She does not always let me paint with lots of colors.”

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Fall is a beautiful time in the area I live. The trees are spectacular with colors we never imagined. The reds, oranges, yellows and purple colors bring back the memories of the first spring flowers after a long cold winter. For preschoolers, this is an amazing site. A tree they knew was green is now changing to new colors with no help from a paint brush or crayons.

The even more amazing part is that the leaves are really not “changing colors”. They are just allowing the other colors in them to have their turn to show off. All deciduous leaves have yellow xanthophyll packages or orange carotene packages in them that wait patiently for the green chlorophyll to disappear due to the lack of daily sunlight. The leaves really do not change colors, they just wait for the green to stop being so bold. The reds and purples are caused by the sugar in the leaves getting trapped as the flow in the veins is getting stopped.

Picture taken this week by one of my former preschoolers fathers

Picture taken this week by Harold Obermann, one of my former preschoolers fathers

 

As we look at children and adults and hope they will change, what if we looked at them like leaves? They don’t really have to change. They just need to stop some parts of their personality from being so bold. What if we looked at all people as having true beauty inside of them that is just waiting for the right conditions to come out?

  • What things stop you now from looking at people as beauty still in the making?
  • What would change for you if you looked at all people as having beauty that was still waiting to show? 
  • What are some things that you could do to help others recognize their true colors?

    Picture taken by a friend today from her car window. Beauty can be seen in traffic...

    Picture taken by a friend, Barb Buczek today from her car window. Beauty can be seen in traffic…

Possibly even bigger questions:

  • What would be different for YOU if you would see yourself as beautiful even when others cannot see your beauty? –also remember that green is a beautiful color even if it never gets a chance to turn into something else. 
  • What parts of you would you like to be a little less bold so that other parts could shine through?

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

Two wonderful preschoolers under beauty

Two wonderful preschoolers under beauty

Don’t get out of bed until 7:00

I heard of a preschooler who was getting up way too early in the mornings and the intelligent parents came up with a system. They put the light on a timer to go off at 7am and shared that the child should not wake them up until the light goes off. At 5:30am, they heard the pitter patter of feet, and a knock on their door. They reminded the child that he was supposed to stay in his room until the light came on. He boldly shared that the light must be broken.

Time to get up.

Time to get up.

Preschoolers are good at knowing what they believe inside of themselves and acting on it. If things don’t make sense to them, they move on to what they believe or what they know to be true. It isn’t until we get older that we get more complicated and stop listening to that inner voice that makes sense to us. Decisions for adults are racked with so many variables, information and performance gaps that we often don’t start with what makes sense for our best inner well-being.

The parent who told this story, was ironically the author of a leadership book called “Winning from Within.” Erica Ariel Fox is a lecturer at Harvard Law School and the world-renowned Program on Negotiation and a recent speaker at the 2014 Global Leadership Summit. She has a global management consulting firm, yet I see her preschooler is the one that is truly winning from within. I hope he continues to help his mother with her leadership development.

  • What determines if you do something exactly as you are told?
  • What makes it hard to trust your inner feelings?
  • What would winning from within look like in your world?

“Children are the hardest people to negotiate with.” Erica Ariel Fox

 

 

 

 

“What would you make with a mixer?”

We had a mixer out to make some frosting with some preschoolers. I asked, “What would you like to make with a mixer?” One boy looked at the beaters and said, “I would like to make NOISE!”

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All of the children in the group before the boy shared some delicious item they would create with the mixer. The very last child shared his truth. NOISE is sometimes the best thing to make.

Noise is something that contains energy. It always creates some reaction and it gains attention. Noise can be subtle or it can be voluminous. It can scare us and jar us and soothe us. It can speak to us with no words.

The first thing that comes out of our mouthes when we are born is noise. Noise is universal. Noise can be an enemy or a friend. Noise can be appreciated or disdained. Noise can be silenced for a moment but not forever.

Noise is a lot like people…….

  • What kind of noise do you like to make?
  • What noises are annoying to you?
  • What can you do when you need to silence the noises around you?

“There are two types of people in the world. People who like kids, and people who don’t. People who complain about kids screaming on aeroplanes and in restaurants, and those people who love kids and enjoy their energy and enjoy hearing the noise they make and get off on their energy. I am one of those people who happens to love kids”
Magnus Scheving

P.S. If you decide to make a noise today, the joyful ones are always appreciated most.

 

 

“Did you have a Happy Birthday?”

A friend of mine celebrated his third birthday this week. He had candles on his cake, happily blew them out and then opened some presents. His mother asked, “Did you have a happy birthday?” He smiled and said, “Yes! I want to blow more wishes!”

Happy Birthday!Children have joy and creativity in abundance. They do not set limits on themselves. Rules are often just suggestions to be tried out. One size does not fit all for a young child. A cupcake has no guilt in eating it.

Adults are more pragmatic. They understand the need for rules and the consequences when they are not followed. They feel comfortable knowing who they are and what is expected of them. They try to eat healthy things even when they don’t always taste as good as the “junk food.” Both ends of that spectrum have advantages, and we can learn from each other. We all could benefit from taking some parts of a joyful preschooler and mixing them with some parts of a mature adult and watching what happens.

The idea of making one wish while blowing out candles for a birthday has been around for all of our lives. The tradition seems to go back to ancient Greeks when they would put candles on a cake to pay tribute to the Greek moon goddess, Artemis. The round cake symbolized the moon and the candles reflected the moonlight.  Germans also enjoyed the cake and candle tradition as they put a  larger candle in the middle of the cake to symbolize “the light of life.” Some people have looked at the smoke from the candle as a vehicle to carry their wishes to gods who lived in the skies.

Superstition is still surrounded by some of our birthday candles. If you have ever feared a wish would not come true if you did not use one blow to extinguish your candles or if you shared your silent secret with someone else, you have used some superstition. Mixing some old tradition with some new concepts is how we often get our current practices.

If you want a good recipe for a “Happy Birthday”, take 2 parts preschoolers with one part adult, mix until blended and spread to others. Blow more wishes as desired.

  • Do you have a special birthday wish you remember either getting or not getting?
  • What, if anything, is wrong with wanting to wish more than once?
  • Will you take a moment and think of a wish you would like for your birthday and then plan how you could make it a reality.

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t wish me happiness – I don’t expect to be happy it’s gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor – I need them all. ” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

P.S. As we look toward our future wishes, believe it or not, there is an app for that! Click here for your birthday candle to use.

 

“Have you made a snowman this year?”

I asked a preschooler, “Have you made a snowman this year?” She looked at me and said, “I made a snowman with play dough inside. Actually it was not a man. It was a boy, and it was not made from snow. It was made from play dough. So yes, my snowman was a play dough boy, and he was fun! My mom won’t let me go outside because it is too cold. But if you make a snowman inside with play dough it does not melt, and your hands don’t need mittens. Do you want to know anything else?”

Have you ever felt like a snowman?

Have you ever felt like making a snowman?

Children are able to see good in so many situations while adults can often gravitate to the negatives. In the Chicago area today it is -19° with a wind-chill of -37°. That is definitely not a temperature anyone can build a snowman in. The preschoolers here have not had a lot of outside time. The children have spent a lot of time looking outside a window at a snowy, windy scene. Most young children do not know what it really means to feel frostbite and the cold that can accompany too much outside fun.

Adults understand the cold. They understand the dangers and the annoyances that accompany sub-zero temperatures. They are the ones who have to fight children to get mittens and gloves on. They are the ones who make promises of treats if a child puts on a scarf. They are the one who buy cute hats with ears that pop up to make the hats more enjoyable. Adults are also the ones who have to shovel the snow and make sure a car has gas in it. All this can be quite taxing as the winter keeps blowing in.

Adults may enjoy the winters more if they looked at ways to make snowmen indoors. A free spirit is something to embrace. If you cannot enjoy the outdoors, enjoy the indoors. Modify your idea of fun and make it happen wherever you are. Fun is something that can be found in any temperature, in any weather and with any number of people. “Fun” has no limitations except the ones our attitude allows. This snow and cold will not last forever and neither will young children. Both are here for a season, and then we will be on to a new type of fun or a new type of complaint. The choice is always yours. You can have fun despite what is happening to everything around you. Watch young children, they are good teachers. “Fun” is on their agenda everyday no matter what the weatherman is forecasting.

  •  What fun is on your agenda today?
  • When have you changed either your attitude or your circumstances in order to have a pleasant outcome?
  • What can you do to add fun to someone else’s life?

“Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” Earl Wilson

P.S. After I talked to the girl, I  asked a boy this same question, “Did you make a snowman this year?” He answered, “Yes.” Then he went on to play with some trucks. If you want to have less talking time with your fun, you may want to seek out a little boy.

 

 

Do you like broccoli?

I asked a preschooler, “Do you like Broccoli?”  He said, “I like it very much….I just don’t like to eat it.”

 

Do you like Broccoli?

Do you like Broccoli?

 

Some people have a hard time accepting things they do not like. We have politicians we seem to love or hate. We have neighbors who have barking dogs and neighbors who rake leaves that tend to go into our yards. We drive in traffic when drivers cut us off and make rude gestures at us as we try to merge. There are religious groups that do not make sense to us and, in all honesty, seem ridiculous. There is a lot in our lives that we just do not like to accept.

It is easy to write people or things off and say, “I just don’t like them. I shouldn’t have to like everything or everyone.” However, what if we lived in this preschooler’s world where we could say, “Yes, I do like you very much, I just don’t want to fully embrace everything about you.” What if we would welcome people just like they are with their thoughts and doubts and not be so quick to judge them?

It is true we should not embrace every aspect of people’s lives. We don’t have to endorse what they believe in. However, if we would try to like them very much, we may just be able to accept them more. We really can like something without eating it all up.

  • What food is “broccoli” in your life? What do you not like to eat?
  • Can you think of a person or type of person that you struggle liking?
  • What could be different in your life or the world if you could try to accept people while not endorsing them?

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

George H. W. Bush

 

“Why would a farmer plant pumpkins in all that mud?”

We were on a field trip to the pumpkin farm on a wet day, and I asked a preschooler, “Why would a farmer plant pumpkins in all that mud?” He looked out at the field and said, “Because orange is a beautiful color!”

The Beauty of Orange

The Beauty of Orange

My preschool classes were all invited to ride a wagon out to the field to get a pumpkin. Some of the parents did not want go on the wagon ride for fear of the mud from the recent rain. Mud is messy. Mud is dirty. Mud gets stuck to shoes and clothes. The preschoolers only saw the beauty in the fields. The bright orange pumpkins for as far as their eyes could see were a beautiful sight. The mud did not bother them. Mud can even be fun if you have the right boots. I wondered how often we concentrate on the mud and miss the beauty that comes out of it and the joy we can have while walking through it.

Preschoolers don’t have to focus on the brown mud. They can focus on the orange beauty. Preschoolers are able to look right past that mud and not get discouraged by it. There is a lot to be said for looking past mess and dirt to see the beauty.

Orange is beautiful as is a preschooler

Orange is beautiful.

  • What in your life is looking very muddy and messy to you right now?
  • Have you experienced a time when beauty grew from a dirty place?
  •  Have you had a time when a messy situation could still be fun?
  • Will you look for something orange today and rest in its beauty for a moment?

“Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.”

Fredrick Langbridge

As this is being posted, the Chicago Bears just won a game in overtime in the muddiest game I have seen. I am thinking the fans are not too concerned about some mud on the orange uniforms.  If you are a Bear’s fan, you believe in the true beauty in the color orange.

 

“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.