What I Learned From a Kindergarten Teacher

What I Learned From a Kindergarten Teacher - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by laffy4k

My daughter had probably one of the best kindergarten teachers in the history of education.  She took a room full of little children from a variety of backgrounds and turned them into a sharp bunch of students.  At the end of the year, all of the students made the principal a book.  The other kindergarten classes had papers with writing that went everywhere and made little sense.  Mrs. S had students whose work was just beautiful.  The sentences looked like they had been written by much older children.  Even the drawings were neat.

Mrs. S didn’t stop with academics.  Her students were the best behaved and neatest students in the school.  She demanded they wipe their feet before entering her room.  She constantly washed their hands with Purell and expected them to behave.  In fact, she had a reputation for being one of the strictest teachers in the school.

Yet the children absolutely adored her!  They would do anything for Mrs S and had.  Years after they left her classroom, many of them still kept in touch with her, even when she retired.  After watching her in action for a year, I think she taught me a lot as a parent about how to get only the best from a child.

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“Make It So”

"Make It So" - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by JD Hancock

I have to admit, I secretly enjoy a good Star Trek episode from time to time.  Not so much that I own a pair of Vulcan ears, but enough to have a few favorite episodes and catch phrases.  On one of the newer versions of the franchise, the captain would say, “Make it so”, when told of how something should be done to solve a problem.

I think one of the hardest parts of parenting is knowing when to be an advocate for your child and when to step back.  Everyone secretly fears become a “pageant” or “backstage” Mom. We have had some experiences recently that helped me realize at least one time where I think you need to jump in and intervene.

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Help, I’m Overwhelmed!

Help, I'm Overwhelmed! - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by Caitlin Regan

Let’s be honest. If you have been a parent for more than a day, you know there are some days you can’t even think about dedicating your child’s life to God. Frankly, you just feel you have accomplished something major when you put him to bed in one piece at the end of the day (and some days even that is in question!).

I used to feel guilty after having a string of days when everyone was sick, everything broke down and everyone wanted my help with something. It seemed like everything was sliding – housework, nutrition and let’s not even talk about manners, rules and teaching about God.

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Growing Gratitude

Growing Gratitude - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by State Farm

Even if you have managed to banish the “gimmes” from your home, it doesn’t mean gratitude will automatically flood into your child. In some ways I think developing a constant “attitude of gratitude” is a lifelong process. Partially because it takes some life experiences to reinforce how much you really do have to be grateful for in your life. Or perhaps we just become too distracted with the annoyances of life to remember all of the things that are going “right”. Whatever the cause, parents can begin laying the groundwork for their children to become grateful.

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Banishing Greed

Banishing Greed - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by USACE Europe District

Greedy children appear to concern a lot of people this time of year. It seems like everyone has a child with the “gimmes” especially during the holidays. In fact my daughter and I caught a segment where a “parenting expert” was counseling parents on how to “cure” their children. Her main advice was for parents to tell their children it was a recession and they couldn’t afford much.

My daughter snorted, “Then they’ll just wait until the economy is better and expect double presents!” She is right. There are a lot of ways to help your child take the focus off of what they can get, but giving them partial or incorrect information is not the best plan.

Our daughter is incredibly responsible with money and always has a very reasonable and short “wish list”. In fact, she rarely has more than two or three items on her entire Christmas list. As my daughter and I discussed what we had done to help her grow her attitudes towards material things, I realized there were some easy things anyone could do with their children.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)