By Beth Pinyerd

I love the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Take me out to the crowd, buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don’t care if I never get back. It was written by Jack Norworth in 1908, and has had fans singing the lyrics ever since.

As Spring approaches in Opelika, Auburn and Lee County, I hear the echoes of our citizens cheering their teams on in the early evening hours. April 27, 2022, is recognized as “National Babe Ruth Day!” Babe Ruth Jr., an American household name in baseball, had a famous and lengthy career that spread over 22 seasons in Major League Baseball. He played for three teams and became one of the greatest hitters after starting out as a pitcher. One of the best ways we can honor Ruth on this special day is to go out in the back yard or park, take our children and families … and play ball.

Opelika has some of the most beautiful trees. In fact, in 2018, Opelika was named 2018 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to urban forest management. The very first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1594 in Mondonedo, a village in Spain. This holiday came to America 300 years later by J. Sterling Morton, a journalist and editor of a Nebraskan newspaper. A good family activity to do on this day is to plant a tree in your yard or neighborhood. This is a good time for your children to learn all about trees. Teaching young children to properly plant and care for trees is a good time to learn facts and information about trees. There will be close to 50 countries celebrating Arbor Day. We want to be good stewards of this world that God has given us. The more trees we have, the better the environment and our planet will be.

Saturday, April 30, is National Honesty Day. This holiday gently encourages citizens to be honest in their personal, individual and professional lives. As parents, it is so important to model honesty in front of our children. Young children understand this at different stages of cognitive development.

Don’t punish a young child to tell the truth if he/she doesn’t understand the truth. In early childhood, the habit of not telling the truth can start as early as toddlerhood or preschool. This is why it is so important as parents and teachers for us to take the time to sit down and teach young children the importance of being honest. This, of course, depends on their age in being able to understand what telling the truth is.

Why do children not tell the truth? This is the time we need to sit down and spend one-on-one time in getting to the root and bottom of why our children may lie. Let’s examine our expectations of a child as a parent and teacher. Children want to please their parents and teachers. Are our expectations too high for our children? Do they fear getting into trouble if they have done something wrong? As a teacher, I much prefer to have an honest C, D or F on a young student’s test rather than a dishonest A because they may have cheated or lied. Being themselves helps us as parents and teachers to help them right where they honestly are. These are things for us to consider in helping to teach and mold our children to do what is right. Also, is the child just wanting their way and they lie? This is where we as parents and teachers can engage the child in the truth of the matter and encourage them to think of helping others.

Don’t embarrass a child in front of other children or family if you have caught them in a lie. Have a spot in your home where you and your child can face each other and come to the truth about a circumstance or situation. Hug them and hold them as you prompt them to tell the truth. Too, role playing with your children to tell the truth is a very good way for them to understand that even little white lies can hurt other people and themselves.

This coming Sunday is is May Day. I remember it like it was yesterday. As a young student in Opelika, at Northside Elementary, we celebrated May Day by dancing around the May Pole with different colored ribbons. As an early childhood teacher, I have taken the May Day celebrations into my early childhood classroom from dancing around May Poles, to making May Day hats and baskets out of simple paper plates.  May Day fun can be adopted at home and the neighborhood too. 

While celebrating May Day, let’s don’t forget that Sunday, May 1, is National Lemonade Day. A cold, frosty glass of lemonade is so very easy to make and enjoy. How many of us remember the good old lemonades and tables we would set up in our yards and in our neighborhoods to sell as a child’s summer business. I remember people stopping to buy lemonade for a dime or quarter from my hand-made concession stand. We fellowship and celebrate around a good glass of Lemonade. 

Mother Goose Day is on May 1, too. Mother Goose is an imaginary author of a collection of both French fairy tales and a collection of English nursery rhymes. We all love to recite these nursery rhymes by heart. “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”, “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, “Wee Willy Winkle”, etc., are all time favorites through the years. Nursery Rhymes aid in language development as children learn to recite each poem.

I hope these few suggestions help you to celebrate and enjoy each day.

Classroom Observer, Beth Pinyerd