Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Refresher course of the wisdom of Kindergarten

I've been thinking a lot about Kindergarten this week.  The pictures above are me, Gwen and Doug in Kindergarten.  It is Ellie's birthday on Thursday and Gwen will soon be registering her for Kindergarten next year.  There are also some kids that I work with everyday that are turning 5 and talking about Kindergarten.  Remember that book "All I really need to Know I learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum?   Here is an excerpt from that book............

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”
Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Even though I work mostly with kids that are 3 and 4 years old, my days are filled with teaching numbers 1-12 from that list above ALL DAY!   I guess that it must take a few years to really learn these key things.   And today was not much different than many other days.  It was CHALLENGING!  We have quite a few very active boys (actually there are 17 boys and 6 girls registered in the class).  There have been many kids who are feeling a bit under the weather and this adds to the challenge.  Additionally there are a couple of boys that are just (choosing my words carefully here) difficult!  It's hard to not feel kind of bad when you just can't get through to these kids!  It's hard to not take it personally and wonder what you are doing wrong.  There is one particular boy that spent almost more time in "time out" today than he did playing!  Let's just say that he has NOT learned numbers 1- 7 AT ALL!  

Part of what makes my day so hard is that I have to keep my faith "under wraps" so to speak.  It would be much easier to teach these basic principals when you include Jesus and the Bible.  I certainly do a whole lot of praying (silently!) and asking for wisdom (silently!).  So often I would like to just reach out and pray for a child.  As I go around and pat backs during nap time, I am praying for each of these kids.  But still the day is very frustrating! 

I remember Kindergarten very clearly.   I did not want to go and I was not happy with my mom leaving me there!  Needless to say, I got over that and quickly learned to love school.   Gwen had no trouble going to Kindergarten.  She marched right up to the principal on the second day of school to report problems on the bus!  On the first day of school Gwen had listened carefully when the principal had said that the students could go to him with any problem.   So she did!  Doug did not want to get on that bus for the first day of school.  But he did!  I am not sure that we learned those 16 points in school.  I hope that Gwen and Doug learned most of these things at home.  Don't you think it would be a good idea for ALL of us to review this list and actually start using them in our everyday life? 

So I will remind myself that my job is important since these kids I am with every day need to learn these important rules of life.  I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to impact these little ones.  I will continue to pray for them and their families and I will remind myself that they have a couple more years until they are in Kindergarten!

Jesus, thank you for the place that you have me right now.  Holy Spirit, show me ways to reach and teach and touch these kids.  Give me wisdom and grace to walk through each day.   Thank you Jesus for your love and your peace.  Amen

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