Christmas vs. Xmas

Just recently a few of the staff were trying to come up with an alphabet game and match pictures to the words that had to do with Christmas.  For example… M – Manger, J – Jesus, O – Ornament.  And then attach a picture to it.  But when we got to the letter X, we were struggling to find a word that related to Christmas.  The only one that we could think of was Xmas.

I don’t really like to use that symbol because I think the world needs to see the word Christ in Christmas.  But did you know that the X is the first letter in the Greek word that means Christ.  It has been used like that for centuries but in our current modern world we have changed what it means and now it has become a negative.

Anyway, I wanted to say all that to say that there are so many things in the world today that keep us from really celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.  I encourage you to dig through all that “stuff” this year and make sure that you keep Christ in your Christmas celebrations.  Because that little baby grew up to be the Savior of the world and that’s something worth celebrating.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Blessings, Barbara

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

I’m baffled!  For many years now I have seen an alarming trend in parents to “not parent” their children.  I’m not sure where this is coming from.  Is it the fact that we now live in an amoral society and morals and values don’t have a constant meaning?  Kinda of like a “You have your morals, I have mine” kind of mentality?  Or is it that a parent who got bad parenting doesn’t know how to parent?  Maybe it is that we just want to be “friends” with our children and make sure they like us so we “let things go”.  I could go on and on with a lot more reasons that I think but suffice it to say that many parents just don’t know how to “parent” their children.

So, I’ve been pondering on this today and, really, many other days before this one and here’s a little advice from someone who has raised her own children (along with my husband, of course) and who has helped to shape and mold many hundreds of children in the last 20 years of working in childcare.

Children need guidance!  Children need discipline!  Children need someone to tell them right from wrong!  Children need someone to teach them.  Children need someone to love them SO MUCH that they will do whatever it takes to help them to learn how to be a great person.  Because, really, what is it that we want from our offspring?  We want them to love and be loved.  To be respected by others, to be able to self-regulate themselves.  We want them to have compassion and wisdom and empathy for others.  We want them to be confident and likable.  Again, I could go on and on but you get the picture.  The question is “How do we as parents help our children achieve these attainable goals”?

And here is the answer.  We, as parent,  must guide, direct, love, challenge, discipline, correct, lead and help them.  That is the ONLY way that they will be the kind of adults that someone wants to call their friend.

If I had a friend that hit me all the time, I would discontinue our friendship.  (And maybe have them arrested.)  If I had a friend who constantly interrupted me when we talk, I would cease talking to them.  If I had a friend who talked about me behind my back while smiling at my face, I would not be their friend.

Parents, do you want your children to be like a good friend?  Do you want them to thrive and excel?  I know the answer is YES!  Then my question to you is “Why don’t you do those things that will help your child achieve this goal”?  What is preventing you from being the parent that you need to be?  Fear?  Boredom?  Busyness?  Maybe you just plain don’t know how to do it?

Mom and Dad, if this is you.  I encourage you to get moving.  Read some books on the subject.  Ask a trusted friend.  Get counseling.  Seek out someone you trust to help you.  Children do not come with a manual on how to raise them.  (I wish they had.)  But God did give us some great older parents that we can look to and ask for advice.  They are out there, willing to give you some help if you just ask.

My door is always open to help you navigate this tricky road called parenthood.  I may not know all the answers but I do know who and where to ask for help if we can’t find the answer together.  I hope you’ll knock on my door soon if you are struggling.  I would love to help you in any way that I can.

So maybe soon I’ll hear, Knock, knock.

And I will be glad to answer

Who’s there?

Blessings, Mrs. T.

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What Just Happened!!mp

Have you ever seen that “Friends” episode where Rachel decides that Monica is going to make all of the decisions for her life.  Because of some bad choices she was making in her life, Rachel decided that was a good idea.

Unfortunately in my line of business, I see this happening quite frequently with parents and children.   Some of the conversations go like this…”Johnny doesn’t want to go to Extended Care today but I need him to go because I have an important thing I have to do and I can’t bring him.  But he doesn’t want to go.  I don’t know what to do”.  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  What?!?  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person needs to do something important and can’t bring her child with her but asks her child what he wants to do.   What does a child know about important meetings and adult needs.

Here’s another one I hear.  “Sally, don’t run.  It’s a parking lot, you might get run over.  Sally!  Sally!  You need to hold my hand.  Sally!  Sally!  If you don’t want to hold my hand then you can’t run.  Sally!  Sally!”  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person reasoning with a child about their safety.  What does a child know about keeping themselves safe.?

Does this make sense in anyone’s world?  A child does not have the capability to make the right decisions for his/her life.  And a child certainly doesn’t have the capability to make the right decisions for an adult.  God fashioned children to rely on their parents for guidance and discipline.  Hebrews 12:5-11  This is the BEST scripture about discipline.  It says that as father/mothers we discipline our children because we love them, as God disciplines us because He loves us. Proverbs 3:11-12 says it too.  So does Dueteronomy 8:5.  I’m sure there are many more.  It’s in the Bible so many times because God wants us to get it right.  It directly correlates to how a child will grow up, be respectful of others and then will be able to pass on this legacy to his/her children.

Does that mean we never give children the right to choose.  Of course not!  We do it all the time here at the Preschool.  “What color would you like to paint your picture?”  “Do you want to play on the swings first or the monkey bars?”  “Would you rather sit in Mrs.T’s office or play on the playground with your friends?” “Which choice do you want to make?”

At home, the choice could be, “Billy, why don’t you pick where we eat tonight, Chuckie Cheese or Perkins”.  Well, we know how that would go, don’t we?  Or how about, “Tonight, Bobby, I’ll read 3 books before bedtime.  Which books do you want me to read?”  “Do you want to help unload the dishwasher or help fold the clothes.”  “Do you want green beans or broccoli with your meal?”  “Would you like to go to the park or go to the mall?”  “Sally, which dress do you want to wear to church?”  The sky is the limit on ways you can empower your child to make choices.  To help him/her make decisions about their life and take a turn making decisions for the family.  But NEVER decisions that usurp the authority of the adult.  This is a slippery slope and one you do not want to start sliding down.

I’ve raised 2 of my own children and one older teenager and had experience with almost 2000 children in my 20 years of working in childcare.  I know children!  I know what works and what doesn’t.  And when I can’t figure something out about children I go to experts to help me.  If you’re having problems, let me help!  I know together we can work out a solution.

Parents, don’t abdicate your authority to children.  Lead them, guide them, encourage them, discipline them.  This is your right and your duty.  God made it that and he said so in His Word and that’s enough for me!

What’s Really Important?!

It has been brought to my attention lately about what constitutes a quality program.  Substance vs. Fluff.  Perception vs. Reality.  As a parent of a child who is looking for a good program in which to put your child, the question is “How do I recognize a quality program?  Because really, you can tell if it’s a bad program easily but it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between good and really good.

In our parent meetings, we tell the parents that having a lot of “stuff” coming home everyday does not mean that the program is meeting that quality marker.  Have you ever been inundated with busy work?  Is it always good?  Just because your child cranks out a bunch of papers or artwork and brings them home doesn’t mean that what was done in the classroom was beneficial to your child.  Just because you can hang their beautiful artwork on the wall or are sent a picture of your child holding a paper flower doesn’t mean that something worth while was happening in the classroom.

When our accreditation agencies and the Early Learning Coalitions come around to check on how our school is doing, over 80% of what they are looking for is interaction with the children.  Teacher/child interaction.

So, here are some things that I believe make a program one of quality.  I welcome you to come and check out our school and see how we measure up.

1.How does the staff greet you?

2.How much communication is going on between teacher and child and child to child.

3.How much exploring of their environment is allowed.

4. When you walk in the child’s classroom do you get a positive feeling about what is happening?

5.Are the teachers friendly with one another?.

6. As the children explore different mediums, (ie. paint, play doh, exploration table) is the child always directed by a teacher or allowed to explore on their own?

7. Do teachers and staff reach out to the parents through different forms of communication?

8. What are the ratios in the classroom?

9. Does the teacher show you that they love your child?

10. Is the administration transparent or are you left to wondering what’s going on?

And most of all…

9. Does the love of Jesus shine through the staff and spill over to the families?

Come by our center and check us out!  I’d love to give you a tour and show you around.

Blessings!

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