As we face a brand new school year full of hope and some uncertainty, I wanted to share three easy-to-remember words to put in your pocket for those days we might feel overwhelmed! I hope these gentle reminders will help in the classroom as well as at home. They are to encourage, endure and embrace! The three E’s!
1. Encourage: As parents and teachers we need to let children talk and express themselves as the year begins. Of course this kind of conversation does depend on their age. The main goal with children young and old is to make sure that they are understood and heard. We have to be active listeners! If a child’s learning will be in-class learning or at home with online learning, allowing children to express themselves during this time instills confidence and courage as they proceed down this new path of learning.
To stay encouraged we have to realize that children are full of imaginary ideas. Too, childhood is such a wonderful time of growth in learning from God’s world. Children are like sponges in learning new concepts! Sometimes we teachers and parents cannot keep up with them. So when we share inspirational quotes with children we encourage their minds and hearts, which affects their attitudes and behavior. This interaction of listening, talking and encouraging sets up the framework of hope of learning in this new school year. We early childhood teachers love to read and act out Dr. Seuss books! I love one of his quotes, which I use all the time in encouraging young children to be confident in approaching new learning tasks: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Each child is special and unique and what a gift we give a child when we make sure they know they can learn and create!
2. Endure: I love the definition of endure, which is “to live on, go on.” This Classroom Observer had a very difficult time learning math. I shed many tears over the subject. I can still reflect on that time and actually feel the attitude of just giving up! So I have understood the sinking feelings that my young students have had of just wanting to give up. My math teacher met with me when she saw a big wall of discouragement rising up on my face daily. Her encouragement has stuck with me with the quote, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” She backed her words with action in that she worked with me in small steps until I understood! It was like a ladder of learning and encouragement that she used. “I can’t do it; I want to do it; How do I do it?; I’ll try to do it; I can do it; I will do it.” She implanted a life lesson of not giving up when I hit small bumps on the road in trying to learn new concepts in subjects I am not comfortable with. Her lesson of helping me has helped me as a teacher to outreach to those students who are having a difficult time in different subjects. I know as parents and teachers we may have students who have special learning needs and it means we may have to go over something several times but not give up. “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessings at the appropriate time!” (Galatians 6:9) We all are teaching very special lives who have beautiful hopes and futures! Thinking about that truly encourages us to endure.
3. Embrace means to hold. We parents and teachers can model and embrace that each day is truly a gift from God. The joy and happiness that our children express is a good contagious spirit for us adults as well. Embracing our children means embracing everything about them, their good points and their imperfections. When I see children being hard on themselves to the point of breaking into tears when they think something is not perfect, I gently remind them that no one is perfect. Too, in embracing children during the learning process we have to look at the process and effort that they have put into trying to learn and accomplish an assignment. We embrace the effort that they have put forth rather than the outcome.
In embracing this upcoming year, I want to leave you with a little anonymous quote that expresses so much truth.
Everyone wants happiness,
No one wants pain,
But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.
Looking for a rainbow in this upcoming school year!