Friday, September 11, 2015

The Blessing of a Life Before and After 9/11

My father died on February 23, 2001.  He didn’t live to see the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  His life was lived entirely in a pre-9/11 world. 

When my father was alive, we would go to Washington, DC and drive on the street right in front of the White House.  We lived in New Jersey and would, on a whim, decide to go to the Statue of Liberty and go up to the pedestal.  No pre-purchased tickets and security line required.  My father loved to go to the airport, walk to the gate and watch the planes take off and land.  When I was a girl, I stood with him at the gate and he pointed out the different types of aircraft.  My father died too young at 61 years old and it occurs to me now that he really was of a different era.  Everything changed on September 11, 2001 and he lived in a world before it.

I teach the next generation – the post September 11, 2001 babies – who were not born before our lives changed.  They do not know the horror of that day first hand.  They have always known security searches at every federal building.   They don’t think twice about lockdown drills and bag searches and long airport security lines.  They assume that you cannot just drive near the White House.  Their world and that which my father lived in are so very different. 

I wonder if it is a blessing to have been the generation before and the generation after but to never having witnessed that day.  Is it a blessing to have never known the fear we with now or to have never known any other way?  Both generations, before and after, didn’t cry for the mourners and go through pain of unwanted change after having to admit that we weren’t impenetrable.  They just don’t know that day like those of us between the before and after.  In some ways, they are blessed.



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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © 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.                                                                                             

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fostering Hope

According to the developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, “Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.”  He taught that hope develops in infancy as babies are learning trust vs. mistrust.  Infants are dependent on caregivers to meet their needs.  When their needs are met, they learn trust.  When their needs are not immediately met, they learn mistrust.  A child who is nurtured well and experiences and successfully resolves the stage of trust vs. mistrust develops hope.
                             
What a sweet notion that is!  A baby cries and we attend to her needs so she develops hope.  She has hope that she will be helped when needed, cared for and nurtured.  That hope, an attitude related to optimism, confidence and self-motivation, has to continue to be fostered beyond infancy.  It does, however, need to have its roots planted in achievable goals and real world possibilities.

Early learners have trouble differentiating between fantasy and reality.  This place – somewhere between real and magical – feeds hope because it is a world in which young children believe anything can happen.  They don’t really understand that reality has a boundary.  A preschool student asked me if unicorns are real.  I had to come up with an answer that was truthful, helped her to find the reality boundary but didn’t destroy her early childhood right to mentally live in that world filled with tooth fairies, Santa Claus, princes and princesses.  I told her that unicorns are in our pretend.  You won’t see one in a zoo or running around in nature but they are fun to pretend and imagine.  She smiled and skipped away.  It was the look of a child who still had her hope and optimism. 

When children are doing the hard work of their early years – learning to be a part of a class, follow directions and rules, being introduced to writing and reading, we need to ensure that we do not strip them of hope.  We need to foster their belief that they will be helped, cared for and nurtured.  When we ask them to do that which they are not developmentally ready for, we chip away at their optimism and confidence.  We take a little piece of hope from them.  When we make them wrong too often by critiquing their early attempts at new skills, another piece of hope falls away.  You may not see the pieces of hope missing right away.  Bit by bit, piece by piece it changes them over time.  They become less sure of themselves.  They develop a belief that adults are there to criticize and not nurture.  They feel that no one can really help them.  The loss of hope is slow and sad and will impact their teen and adult years.

You cannot freeze time and keep your children from discovering that the tooth fairy and Santa aren’t real.  You can help to foster hope in a more mature way.  You can be careful in your interactions and in the approaches to learning that your children encounter.  You can choose to nurture and accept who your children are at every stage.  You can make an intentional effort to ensure that your child is raised and taught in an environment that values the delicacy and necessity of hope.

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © 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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Awaken Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills by Asking Questions

Adults tend to talk and tell but it is through asking questions that we create thinkers.  Parents and educators need to intentionally ask many different types of questions to extend children’s thinking and encourage them to analyze.   A critical thinker spends time analyzing, evaluating, problem solving and decision making.  Children who are taught to do so in the early childhood years will be more used to that sort of thinking as they grow and are asked to participate in more complex science, math and literacy lessons.

Young children need to be asked open ended questions and those that ask them to make choices.  Young children can be offered the opportunity to answer, “What do you want to do?”  Instead of dictating the topics and themes for their projects in preschool, they should be asked what they want to make and with what materials.  When teachers simply select the materials and the children have no choice, an important thinking moment is lost.

One of my favorite questions to ask children is their favorite question to ask me – “Why?”  Adults get weary from the constant “Why?” from children.   It is not easy to spend your day explaining your every move and, often, we don’t really know why we say or do things.  We have to come up with answers.  We have to think.  I want children to participate in that thinking.  When they ask me why, I reply, “Why do you think?” and I actually want them to answer.  When young children tell me they went to visit a relative, I ask why.  When they tell me about their favorite color, I ask why.  I ask why often.  As you can imagine, many children shrug at me and said, “I don’t know.”  I accept that answer and, hopefully, teach them that not knowing something is okay with me.  I don’t know everything either.

When you are with young children, listen to yourself.  Pay attention to the sort of questions you ask and determine how often you are stretching their intellect.  They say that if you don’t ask, you will never know.  That’s true of adult interactions as well as with children.  If we don’t ask the questions that require analysis, we will never know just how capable the children are of considering situations and thinking critically.

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

Copyright 2015 © 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.