Thursday, May 30, 2013

“Make Good Decisions” – A Powerful Way to Say Goodbye



On his way home from college, my son was talking about his year.  He mentioned that on his way out one day, his friends bid him farewell by saying, “Make good decisions.”  I love that they use that phrase to say, “Have fun but think about what you do.”  He said that they say it to each other often and it has become such a part of his vernacular that he will say, “Make good decisions” before I leave for work in the morning.  It is so much more meaningful than a perfunctory “Have a good day.”  I cannot always control how good a day I will have because there are so many outside influences that can impact my mood.  I can, however, control the amount of thought that I put into my decisions.  I can make every attempt to choose the right path, to be helpful rather than hurtful, to think before I speak and to lead a good life.  What would this world be like if we all parted each other's company by saying, “Make good decisions today”?

 As both a school director and a parent, I have often thought that every classroom and every home should have a poster with the quote, “First do no harm.”  I would like to add another that says “Make good decisions.”  Those posters would apply to both the students and the teachers, to the children and their parents.  While I’m sure that children and adults don’t enter a room intending to harm someone, we can easily forget that our every word, tone and gesture impacts everyone around us.  When we treat each other with respect, both young and old, respect is given to us in return.  Adults know when someone doesn’t like them and it is an uncomfortable feeling.  Children are no different.  They know when their peers are not being nice and they know when adults expect them to misbehave or fail.  When we make the conscious decision to take a breath and consider our interactions and reactions, we change our entire environment.  We can decide to embrace the good in everyone and provide guidance when needed.  We can decide to do for others both through our actions and our words.

Imagine a world where our youngest children are taken to preschool and we say to them, “I love you.  Make good decisions.  Help a friend today” or “Make good decisions.  Try to share and be kind.”  Our children can grow up knowing that they have control over their actions and they should give them thought.  They can know that a meaningful life consists of both “Have fun” and “Make the decision to be kind.”  As they grow, that phrase can go from making the decision to share a toy to making the decision to reject the opportunity to bully.  Children who have grown up with the reminder to make good decisions might think more about their responsibility to this world as teens and adults.

Join with me in a quest to change our parting words to “Make good decisions.”  Share this article with parents, teachers, grandparents, coaches and anyone who bids your children farewell.  Tell them that instead of saying, “Have a good evening,” they should use that moment to say, “Make good decisions.”  They are 3 very powerful words. __________________________________________________________________________________

Read this blog for more articles and learn about early childhood workshops for parents and early childhood professionals - www.helpingkidsachieve.com
                                                      
Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved
Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

I’m Being the Best I Can Be



Being a young child’s caregiver – a parent, a teacher, a guardian – requires endless patience.  Some days are filled with fun and laughter while others seem like a series of never-ending behavioral challenges.  Some children will quietly test boundaries while others are more bold and loud.   Many of us have watched with sympathy on our faces as other parents deal with public tantrums, disrespectful tones or other difficult child rearing situations.  Teachers may do all the right things to positively discipline and offer instructive rather than punitive reactions but some students will continue to test the limits of the classroom.  When you care about children and are doing your best to be a role model and guide children, continuation of unacceptable behavior can start to feel personal.  We wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” when young children persist.

Every child will react differently to our guidance.  They can be quite unpredictable.  Just when you think you’ve figured them out, their behavior or reaction to discipline surprises you.  I cannot predict what each child will do in varied situations but there are two things that experience as both a parent and educator have taught me.  Every child is being the best he/she can be and every behavior – good or bad – provides a reward.

Children do not wake up in the morning thinking, “Today, I’m going to break her.  I am going to be a misery, have tantrums, scream until I’m hoarse and get myself in loads of trouble.”  They wake up in the morning just like adults do – with a day that will unfold.  Some of the day is in our control and some is not.  Children’s reactions to the day are not so different than ours.  Our reactions to the day are influenced by our personalities, past experiences, need for control, lack of sleep, body chemistry and more.  Some days, we awake peacefully and feeling well.  Some days, we are tense from the time we get up from bed.  Some days, we need more attention than others.   Every day, we hope things will go well.  We are imperfect and we make mistakes.  We are simply the best we can be and so are our children.  The “best” is not always what we would like to see.  The day full of tantrums is the best that child could do.  My heart goes out to the child who is scared, crying and even testing my limits.  It isn’t easy to be that child.

If it isn’t easy to be the angry or sad child, then why do it?  Children do it because there is some reward.  A reward can be both positive and negative.  A child who cannot cope with frustration throws a tantrum or lashes out at friends to release the tension he/she feels.  A child who desperately needs attention will do anything to get it.  Negative behavior may cause negative attention but it is attention nonetheless. 

When we are emotionally involved in a situation, it can be difficult to take a step back and remember that our children or our students are not plotting our demise.  They need us to remember.  We need to remember how it feels to be out of control, needy, tired, confused and unsure.  Our children need us to take a deep breath and remember that they are the best they can be in that challenging moment.

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Read this blog for more articles and learn about early childhood workshops for parents and early childhood professionals - www.helpingkidsachieve.com
                                                      
Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved
Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Goal of Motherhood



Motherhood is full of conflicting responsibilities.  At the same time, we protect and encourage independence.  We are here to teach our children and to let them learn from experience.  We want to instill our values & belief systems while letting our children develop their own opinions.  Motherhood is like two ends of a tug of war.  We need to find the place in the middle of the rope that allows our children to have the best of both extremes. 

Being a mother is unlike any other relationship.  My boys are my legacy.  They are the piece of me that will live beyond my lifetime.  No friendship, no extended family and no pet will ever play that role.  Our children carry our love, our stories, our history and our mistakes with them just as I carry those of my parents.  When they are young, we encourage them to try new things and do well in school.  We practice tying shoes and writing the ABC’s.  We agonize along with them as they learn hard life lessons.  We are happy with their success and are sad when they are disappointed.  Eventually, they leave us.  From the time they are young, we need to work toward the end goal of independence from us.  As my boys go out into the world and build their own lives, I realize that for all those years there was really one great gift that I could give them.  If I could put it in a box and tie it with a bow, I would hand them the ability to cope.

When we are raising our children, we need to be examples of handling both good and bad times.  They need to see that life is a journey that takes us to amazing places filled with joy as well as times clouded by stress, disappointment and sorrow.  Children need to see that through tough times, there is still love, faith and ways to get to the next great moment.  They need to know that they are capable.  They can make decisions.  They can change the things that they do not like and make their lives better.  They can embrace the joyous moments and get through the rest.  They can cope.

Once a year, mothers have a special day marked on the calendar.  I will wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day and my boys will wish the same for me.  That day in May is not, however, the one that fills my heart.  My heart is full and I know I’ve done well as a mother when I watch my boys accomplish difficult goals, help people in need, stand up for what they believe in and comfort others in times of sorrow.  I know I did a good job when my son calls to say he had a problem but he solved it.  He knew I would have listened and helped but he was able to do it on his own.  I hope I am here for a very long time in case they want to talk about it first but, someday, I know they will be able to solve their problems and they will walk with grace through this world.


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Read this blog for more articles and learn about early childhood workshops for parents and early childhood professionals - www.helpingkidsachieve.com
                                                      
Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved
Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

 edu_listed_dir