Call it a combination of Valentine’s Day, meeting the haunting tragedy of Sandyhook Elementary School! Call it the trauma of an Alabama boy being kidnapped from his school bus! Call it the news lately! Call it what seems like an end of the innocence in this country for even our youngest member of society! I feel like our society and specifically our children need one big group hug- and then a lot of tackling of issues from there.
So much starts at home; so much continues at school. Nurturing our children through our words, our actions, and the environment of our homes and schools is a life’s work as a parent and a school’s ultimate legacy. One of my favorite poems reminds me of the weight of our words and deeds, as parents and educators.
by Dorothy Law Nolte (1924 – 2005)
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Excerpted from the book CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE
Another nice reminder comes from Carrie, a writer, Waldorf home educator, physical therapist, and mom at “The Parenting Passageway” blog.
She offers just a few ways we can convey our affirmation, love, praise, and recognition of children and their efforts. Moving beyond a simple ‘good job,;’ these words deliver and harken back to the enthusiasm and love we poured on our children when they met their first milestones as babies.
Here are some encouraging words:
I knew you could do it!
Way to Go!
You almost have it, you almost did it! How fantastic!
You are doing much better!
That is the best you have ever done!
You are right on track!
Every day you get better and better!
That is such a good idea.
You must have practiced! I can tell!
You got it!
I am proud of you!
I knew you could do it! How cool!
Now you’re flying!
You are beautiful, unique, incredible!
What a good listener you are!
You tried so hard!
You really care about others!
Beyond all words are our actions. The billboards that say “Take time to be a Dad,” speak to me about putting the time into parenting and to extrapolate, teaching. We are a fatigued nation. As parents and educators we can all be high on the verbiage and policies that say we care, but short on the substantive actions that truly convey this meaning. For Valentine’s Day, I put the chocolates away (or at least to the side snickers my sweet tooth) and examine myself and our home’s actions regarding our three little ones. I think we need to do some collective thinking as a society and ask ourselves what best serves children at both home and school. To close with some more famous words:
We must all…”Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Our children’s world depends on it….