“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
My mother was in her 50’s when she went back to school at Auburn University in order to renew her teaching certificate in the Department of Education. This was the 1970s, and being an older student, she needed encouragement that she would make it with her younger colleagues. After about three weeks for my “golden eagle” mother, I constantly heard the name Jane as her favorite friend. I thought that maybe it was one of the younger student teachers, but no, it was her professor, Dr. Jane Moore. She said Jane was such a good listener and was her best cheerleader in her education studies.
I too became an education student of Moore’s. Like my mother, I was so encouraged as a teacher learning what young children needed in motor development and learning to move. As a student, Dr. Moore celebrated who you are as a student teacher and listened closely to each student teacher’s ideas. She made you feel that you were the only student in her class as she addressed our ideas and learning needs. What a wonderful foundation she provided for each teacher and the future of each classroom of children that this teacher would teach. Her humble enthusiasm for learning, positive encouragement, as well as time spent with each of her students no matter what age was a teacher’s dream of an education professor. She encouraged her students to apply what they were learning by doing age-appropriate lesson plans, creating and improving playgrounds, as well as celebrating the lives of the children we teach.
We do have a few weeks before school starts that we as families can spend time celebrating our children. Like the old saying goes, “Take time to smell the roses”. We as adults can take time to celebrate our children. Why wait till your child or your children have their birthday? Celebrate their life every day in little ways and you will be surprised at what a joyful journey you will take through the eyes of your child. Usually in the summer, our lives have slow down quite a bit – the children aren’t in school. T-I-M-E spells love to your child or children.
Time spent with your young child or children is something that they will always remember. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or plan so many activities in their lives to keep them happy. Having mom, dad or any other important adult in their life is really all a child’s heart desires. Too, time spent with your child contributes to healthy growth, teaches them to positively interact with others and gives them a sense of feeling special and secure. I have listed a few of tried and true ways to celebrate the life of your child. I hope these help.
With young children, those brightly crayoned colored pictures done at school or at home are your child’s treasure from their hands and heart for you to “ooh” and “ahhh” over. If you can’t make it out with a ton of wet glue or scribbling – rave a lot of positive comments over this because this is their masterpiece to you. What a conversation maker to discuss every little detail of their picture. It doesn’t take that long – just a focused eye and ear is all your child needs to feel like they are your little queen or king. When you spend that special quality time with your child, just not half-listening, but focusing and celebrating them, it makes your child feel so very, very special. Notice the green leaves or small flowers your child clutches tight in order to give to you. In my interactions with young children they delight in giving something special which is straight from their hands and hearts to we adults.
Too a simple hug from mom or dad can crown your child with joy, happiness and security. The poem “Here comes a Hug”, author unknown, has a lot of good children’s advice when it says “A hug can soothe a small child’s pain, and bring a rainbow after the rain. So stretch those arms without delay and give your child a hug today.” What a simple gesture of celebrating your child!
If you have more than one child, set a day in a week where that child celebrates his/her day with mom and dad. It doesn’t have to take long at all. It can simply be a walk in the park or around the house just you and that child. It can simply be to go get an ice cream cone with the child who is celebrating their day or even to have a special seat next to mom or dad at the dinner table or in the car. Taking your child to a special lunch just you and them will bring a beaming smile to your child. Your child will look forward to their day week after week. Read their favorite story at bedtime. They can fall off to sleep feeling so very, very special.
With your older children celebrate their day by listening and engaging in activities they enjoy like ball, board games, looking at cars, building model cars, clothes shopping, etc. And really just listening and positively receiving their ideas and giving them your full undivided attention will be the best celebration of all.
Last but not least, express to your child from your heart how they have truly made a difference in your life. Express to them no matter how young they are by note or verbally how they have brought happiness to you and others. Yes, these children are your child but they are separate, unique individuals. Helen Keller’s quote is so true, (keep in mind she was blind, deaf and at one time could not speak), “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” With the child’s song – “Look all the world over, there’s no one like you, no one like you”, is so very true. Encourage your child to be uniquely who they are. Cherish and celebrate each day and on their special day celebrate what makes them unique. Start early and your child will be your friend for life. I want to thank the late Dr. Jane Moore for making such a big difference in so many of we teachers’ lives in knowing that we have learned so much in celebrating the future of young childrens’ lives by her model of how to reach out and teach!