I’m on the heels of a restful, soul-searching summer – mostly offline. I’m about to start a brand new, very exciting school year – mostly online (district-wide 1:1 happiness!). I’m sooooo excited about the new building, students, innovations, discoveries, classes, relationships, it goes on!!!!! BUT before I go back, I must write a few posts. Here’s the first pre-school post (truly, no pun intended):
Last week, I was lucky to fly home with my 4-year old niece, after visiting family in California, and host her for a few days of quality auntie/niece bonding!! For the record, this was her first trip without either parent and she was completely patient on the delayed red-eye we endured!! Watching and caring for her this past week reminded me of some valuable life lessons I first learned years ago raising my now 22-year old daughter.
Lesson #1: Children do everything with love. My niece, Skylar, lives love! Whether making a craft out of whatever artifact she can get their hands on, baking cookies with extra sparkle for mom and dad, building a block house for Froggie, singing at the top of her lungs to one of many songs she knows by heart or simply jumping up and down with glee, I see her doing it all with LOVE. Her love is pure, innocent and expressed whole-heartedly without worry over hurt or shame. Case in point, upon waking during her first morning at my home, my niece exclaimed in her bubbly articulate way, “Auntie T, I had a dream that I loved you so much that all around me was love, love love – SO much love I could hardly speak.” This is word-for-word from her . . . I know because I was so enthralled I instantly grabbed a pen and wrote down what she said!!! My niece expresses what she feels and is not afraid to do so. Imagine the wholesomely sincere relationships if we lived more genuinely.
Lesson #2: Children live in the moment. They are not ashamed of the past; they are not worried about the future. They enjoy what they are experiencing NOW for what it is. Very young children are completely present with what they are experiencing and feeling. They do not worry about what comes next, what others think, or what they look like – they just are. Caring for my niece was great practice in enjoying the moment and realizing the beauty and wonder in the seemingly small things. Shapes of clouds, words to songs, colors of forks become subjects of deep conversation. Imagine the dissonance dissipated if we lived more presently.
Lesson #3: Children play all the time. Play is how young ones learn and discover. They laugh all the time. They instinctively understand the concept of “You think, therefore you are.” In other words, their imaginations are very powerful. They are very creative individuals. I really see the wheels turning and the excitement forming when my niece states something like, “Okay, you be the student and I’ll be the teacher. Let’s pretend it’s show & tell . . . . . ” Imagine what we could accomplish as adults if we kept that powerfully confident creativity.
As I begin a new school year, I am going to try very hard to hold on to the value of genuine expression, the value of being fully present and the value of play to learn and discover!! While my students are a good ten years older or more than Sky, these are important life practices to model and practice as we venture on our educational journey. I’m so grateful and blessed to spend time with my young niece, watch my grown daughter bloom and share happiness with family and friends. Each special person teaches us something – whether it’s a lesson easy to swallow or hard to hold, we learn, grow and become better individuals through the trials and joys we experience with each other. Love, live, play . . . one step at a time!!
**For Sky MC ~ You’re a sky full of stars!! I love you very much!