A Graduation Gift

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By Beth Pinyerd

It is graduation time. We, teachers, have bonded with our class family. As teachers, we have hope for our students as they move up to the next game. But, too, we have sadness in knowing that we will not be seeing these little faces each day. But as we reflect and pray on the hearts of our students, we teachers realize that a school classroom can become a life-changing experience.

Young children are a promise. In graduation of 2022, I hope this encouragement will be a graduation gift from Classroom Observer to encourage parents as they look upon their children as a “promise.” In sharing this with you, I’d like to take each letter of promise, as we realize that your child is a promise and a possibility as we explore ways we can encourage each child to be all they can be. Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

P – Praise and encourage your child. Verbal praise is so important for young children to hear when they have done a good job. Pats on the back, eye-to-eye contact or a wink saying “I am proud of you” mean so much to children, as well as adults. Time spent with your child spells LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

R – Reach out to your child. In our world today, we spend so much time on the run. In reaching your young child, it is more important to spend free time with them rather than heading off to too many structured activities. Activities are fine, don’t get me wrong, but just not too many. Free play is so important for young children. Play is a way that children work, grow and express themselves. It is so neat to let your child swing up to the beautiful spring sky, just running and walking around the yard or playing at one of our beautiful community parks. Taking time to make “Mud pies” or play house under a tree are such wonderful experiences in role-playing, learning to interact with each other and learning to be free to express one’s self. Play is developmentally essential. Giving your child time to play and interact with you as his/her parent, grandparent or caretaker is essential to a child’s happiness and well-roundedness. Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

O – Optimism is contagious to be around. Children love to be around happy people. Just like Play-Doh, young children’s hearts can be molded by our actions and words. I love the term POP in sharing with children, which is ‘P-positive, O-Optimistic, P-Peacemaker.’  In guiding children to share and make friends, it is so important to guide them toward being positive. Life is not going to always be a bowlful of cherries but it is our attitude and how we handle the circumstances of life that count. You’ve heard the old expression, “making lemonade out of a lemon.” Teaching children early in life how to live, no matter how rough things are, is a valuable lesson not only for a child, but an adult. Too, O – optimism is just part of that positive spirit. P – for peacemaker is so important for a child to learn in order to grow; get along with other children by sharing, “giving and taking”; and most of all forgiving someone when they have done something wrong. Ecclesiastes 3:12 – “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.”

M – Meeting the strengths of your child’s gifts and talents, how they are made and enabling them to be all they can be. Being available to offer them learning sessions, activities that enhance what they are inclined to do is a true gift that every child deserves. Talking and listening to your child will win them over and they will see the love from your heart that you care. Just like we water our spring flowers, young children need to be nurtured too so the flowers of confidence and motivation blossom. Ecclesiastes 7:14 – “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.”

I – Interaction is so important in reaching and teaching a child. There are several approaches to learning. 1. Visual learning is where a child learns more by seeing pictures or demonstrations.  2. Reflective learners usually learn best when they are alone. These children are usually observers for a long time in assessing their situations. They may be the children that will separate themselves in playing, look at books by themselves and ponder on new learning situations.

3. Logical learners are geared to learning by following patterns or sequences. We think of ordering numbers and alphabet sequences when we think of this kind of learner.

4. Physical learners learn best by a lot of activities such as being active with their hands, feet and their whole body. We see these young children doing a lot of pretend play, as well as enjoying outside play and games. 5. Relational learners interact and relate well to other children. They are very social and love to work in groups. They learn by interacting with their friends. 6. Musical learners love to sing, hum and they enjoy playing musical instruments. When tambourines, bells and cymbals are given out, they love to march around the room and learn. These kinds of learners make up tunes for everything. 7. Natural learners love the world outside. They are little scientists who love to look closely at nature with all its plants and animals. Usually, these kinds of learners will migrate to the science table with the centers in a classroom. Jeremiah 29:11 – “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”

S – Special is what children are. Just like a canvas that we can draw or paint on, a child’s life is like this. Children love to hear their names and they love to get encouragement. On the canvas of a child’s life, we as parents and teachers can paint beautiful masterpieces for our children and students.

E – “Every” is such an important word as we watch our young children grow up quickly. Every day is a gift wrapped up in a bow when young children are at the beginning of their little lives. Parents, they grow up so quickly. In a blink of an eye, they are grown and out on their own. Cherish every single day of your child’s life. Never take one day for granted. Savor each moment as you watch your promise grow up to be a possibility. James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turn.” 

Beth Pinyerd

Classroom Observer  

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