Emily P. Freeman is a popular Christian blogger and author who inspires me on many levels. She has a monthly blog series I particularly enjoy called “Let’s Share What We Learned.” As the title suggests, the goal of these monthly posts is to “spend a little time reflecting on the last month before moving ahead into the next.” As we end our school year together, I’m going to follow Emily’s example and share 3 of my personal take-aways from this school year.
1. Listening well is a skill and a gift.
We teach preschoolers that listening is a skill that is necessary for learning to take place. To listen well, your eyes, ears, voice, and body each have a special thing to do. These are the listening rules: eyes watching, ears listening, voice quiet and bodies calm.
Listening is also an essential skill for building connected relationships with our children and one another. The Bible says it this way:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak
and slow to become angry.”
I am aware in fresh ways this year that my own listening skills are weak at best - at work, at home, in my relationship with God. I am quick to speak, to get defensive, and to begin thinking of what I am going to say while you are still talking. I.am.slow.to.listen. Can you relate? If so, our “how to” feature this month might interest you.
2. High-fives can hurt.
There are some children who are very enthusiastic when they give me a high five in the morning. I call these high fives “stingers.” Please do not worry if your child falls into this category. I’ve got it. I’ve figured out a work around. I raise my hand up high (instead of putting it down low) so they have to reach up or even jump up. Earth-shattering, right?
In all seriousness, I so enjoy this small point of connection with each child. I delight in watching their personalities, their unique preferences (some children shake my hand or always lean in for a hug or just give me a look), and how they are feeling about being at school based on their body language and facial expressions. And if that means I get a stinger from time to time, so be it.
3. Change happens whether we welcome it or not.
If change is my idea, I am a happy camper. Conversely, I dread and resist change I cannot control - such as children growing up too fast or close neighbors moving away. My preference is to nest in comfortable seasons of life and hold on tightly to the people around me and pray things will just stay the same.
In reality, change is a fact of life. Growth cannot happen without change. This year I am learning that I need to accept this truth and work through how change makes me feel (sad, anxious, scared, angry, wistful, etc.). If you are feeling all the feels this time of year, take comfort in this: children are supposed to grow up. This is a good thing. It’s the watching them grow up that can be so hard on a parent’s heart.
Please know that I thank God for each of you, your amazing children and the many blessings of the past year of school together. It’s an honor to be a part of your life
With a grateful heart,