I can clearly remember when I graduated from Opelika High School in 1971 at Clift Hare Football Stadium. I told my daddy and uncle that I was so glad to be finished. They both looked at me, laughed and told me that I had just begun. And yes, they were so right. The song “We’ve Only Just Begun,” sung by Richard and Karen Carpenter, is one that truly coins what graduation is. So much of life is ahead, especially for our children. So, my graduation gift is to remind parents, grandparents and teachers that children are truly a PROMISE.
P — Encourage your children with verbal praise, as well as pats on the back, eye-to-eye contact, etc. to let your children know that you are proud of them. Truly listening and spending time with your child spells love.
R — Reach out to your child by playing with them and doing some fun activities that they enjoy. Free play is also important for young children and serves as an outlet for children to work, grow and express themselves.
O — Optimism is contagious to be around. Each day of life is a gift from God. Children have so much inner joy; they laugh and smile when they are around happy people. I know we have noticed that children respond to our different moods, and their hearts are molded by our actions and words. Again, I share the simple word “POP,” which stands for Positive, Optimistic Peacemaker.
M — Meet the strengths of your child’s gifts and talents, and enable them to be all they can be. Being available to offer learning opportunities and activities that enhance what they are inclined to do is a true gift every child deserves.
I — Interaction with children is how they learn. Reflective learners learn best when they are alone. They are observers in assessing situations. Logical learners are geared to learn by following patterns or sequences. Physical learners learn best by activity, such as being active with their hands, feet or their whole body. Relational learners interact and relate well to other children. Musical learners love to sing, hum and enjoy playing musical instruments. Natural learners love the outside world.
S — Special is what children are. Children are like a blank canvas, ready to become a masterpiece. Children love to hear their names, and they love to receive encouragement. On the canvas of a child’s life, we as parents and teachers can help paint beautiful life masterpieces for our children and students.
E — “Every” is such an important word as we watch our young children grow up so fast. It seems that in the blink of an eye, they are grown. Cherish every single day of your child’s life. Watch your promise of a child grow up to be a possibility.
As school is coming to a close, we kick off the summer season with Memorial Day on Monday, May 29. We want to have fun in the sun during the summer, but we need to use safety precautions in protecting our children.
Following are a few summer safety tips as you take care of your little ones during the summer.
Be sure to apply the appropriate sunscreen to your child. Each child requires a different scale of protection according to their age and the color of their skin. When young children are left in my care, I ask the parents to apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes ahead of outside fun time. When your child is swimming or running through the sprinkler, be sure to reapply the sunscreen at intervals when they get in and out of the water. Take time to cover spots that may burn, and make sure to evenly apply.
When children are running and playing outside in the heat, it is so important for them to be dressed appropriately with light-colored and lightweight clothing. Clothing should breathe and allow the child to stay cool. During these summer months, sweating is characteristic of a summer day. Children love to run around and play different games. When your little one gets really wet with sweat, be sure to change them into dry clothes.
To prevent heat stress in children, be sure he or she is very well-hydrated. Encourage your child to drink as much water, juice and other flavored drinks as possible. We do not want our children to become dehydrated.
Have your child or children play quiet inside games, rest, read, watch appropriate programs on television, video or DVD during the heat of the day.
Try to find shade and have your child stay out of direct heat as much as possible.
During late afternoon or evening hours, make sure your child is properly sprayed with insect repellant. Follow the appropriate instructions when applying the repellant.
When you are doing your summer mowing, be sure your child stays at a safe distance from the lawn mower. A mower can kick up a rock or stick that could hurt a child.
When taking your child to playgrounds and parks during the summer, be sure that the sliding boards, swings and other equipment are not too hot for your child to play on. Assess the general safety of the park before allowing your child to play.
We need to remember to put helmets on our children when they ride their bicycles. Go over safety rules your child needs to follow when riding their bicycles, and properly supervise them.
Try to always have a first aid kit with you to pack basic supplies you will need before playing, picnicking, going swimming and having plain old summer fun outdoors.
My favorite Bible verse to share with our graduates is 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 hope and a future.’”
Congratulations to all our graduates, and let’s begin to enjoy a fun, safe summer.