“Love is the miracle cure! Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives!”
Louise L. Hay
Yesterday was my birthday and boy did I feel the love! My students greeted me with group hugs and homemade gifts and cards, not to mention warm wishes from friends and family. It is so heartwarming to feel loved and appreciated by others and we all need that validation that is certain. Birthday celebrations are HUGE in my classroom. Among the variety of things I do to make the birthday child feel special, there is one that has very special significance to me and the students. As a class we sing to the birthday child a song by a children’s entertainer named Ronno, called “Here With Y-O-U!“
The lyrics of the song are:
“Y-O-U, You’re Incredible! Y-O-U, Unforgettable! It’s so nice to see you, and I’m so glad to spend some time with… Y-O-U! I appreciate Y-O-U ‘cause you’re really great. Yes it’s true you’re special, and I’m so glad to be right here with Y-O-U! The Y-O-U part is YMCA style with gestures and we sing it with great gusto in the birthday child’s honour. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this little ritual! It is priceless to watch the children hover around and literally sing the praises of their special classmate. Equally priceless is the reaction of the birthday child. He or she is grinning from ear to ear, and it is so evident what this means to him or her! I have been choked up on many occasions and have had to have the kids do all the singing. I have been known to sing this song each year, so there are many classes that are very familiar with it as the years go on. A couple years ago, a dear teaching friend of mine, Karen was retiring. As a surprise on her last day at an assembly, we performed the Y-O-U song dedicated to her. It started out small and then like a flash mob, kids from other years all over the gym started to join in. It was rehearsed, but still very cool to witness. I know it meant a lot to her and it will be forever a wonderful memory for me.
We all need someone to sing our praises from time to time. There have been times when I have needed encouragement and at just the right moment, I will receive a kind word from a friend, or a timely word of advice. My husband is awesome for this. He is very intuitive. He can tell when I am struggling and will often literally say no word of a lie…“I think I need to sing your praises a bit Honey!“ How lucky am I to have someone like that by my side? In the same regard, I love to give cards to people to provide encouragement. Not just the regular occasion style cards, but especially cards that are for no occasion. I love to go on a hunt for the perfect card that will make a person laugh or feel better. When I find it, it is like finding a rare treasure. What I like about these cards, is that they are not expected, so often they are more meaningful. I have prayed that God will let me know how to encourage people and believe He has directed me by the feedback I have received from the people who have
received the cards.
So many people are desperate for a kind, positive word. We do not know what their day to day lives are like. We sometimes don’t know what their childhood was like, or what their workplace atmosphere is like. There are so many things going on behind the scenes for people that we may never know. Our job should be to be the one that others can count on to be a cheerleader, someone that will come alongside and cheer someone on when he or she feels like giving up. When I went through a particularly hard time in my life, I was blessed with a very powerful dream that really gave me perspective. In my dream, I was running a race with lots of uphill climbs and twists and turns. I was very near the “finish line,” but I couldn’t see it. What I also couldn’t see were a whole group of angels just waiting in eager anticipation to congratulate me as I finished the race. This dream spoke to me that even in the hard times we need to keep pressing on and even when we can’t always see them, there are people just waiting and wanting to be an encouragement to us.
Maybe you need a word of encouragement today. So here it is just for you! Y-O-U, you’re incredible to God, me, your family and friends and many people you don’t even realize!
Little lesson learned: You are an amazing, unique, incredible person with enormous potential! Celebrate that!
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They cannot be numbered.
Psalms 139: 13-17
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2016
“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate
on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
I am a primary school teacher and like me, many elementary teachers and students are very well acquainted with an adorable, yet precocious student named Junie B. Jones! Junie B. Jones is a loveable first grade, fictional character from the New York Times bestselling author, Barbara Park. I absolutely love this series! I was first introduced to this book series, through my job as a librarian. The first Junie B. book I ever read was Junie B. Jones Is A Beauty Shop Guy. I laughed so hard, I was literally crying as the books are written from a first grader’s perspective with all the lingo he or she might say at that age level. Any book with Junie B. Jones’ name on it, is always a crowd pleaser to read aloud to any class. I am so enamored with this author and these books that several years ago my coworkers and I booked a conference in Arizona with the highlight being other than escaping snowy Canada in February, actually hearing Barbara Park speak! For weeks the anticipation grew! My students and I were so excited that I was going to meet Barbara Park “for real!” Oh the questions I would ask her! I also was so pleased I could get her to sign hopefully a few books from my growing collection of Junie B. favourites! Well unfortunately my excitement came to a screeching halt, when just before we were to board our plane, we received the sad news that Barbara Park could not attend the conference as scheduled, due to a personal emergency. A good time was still had by all at the conference, but the absence of a “meet and greet” with the Barbara Park was an obvious disappointment. Anyhow, that is the way things go sometimes! I do hope to meet her some day, and still continue to eagerly share her very humorous books with each new class I teach.
During the Thanksgiving season I read her Thanksgiving Junie B. Jones book, entitled Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten and Other Thankful Stuff! O.K., even the title is enough to make you laugh out loud, wouldn’t you agree? The hilarious story revolves around Junie’s class compiling a “thankful list” that much to their teacher’s dismay included the likes of toilet paper, exploding biscuits in a can, snausages for a pet dog and cranberry sauce. The disheartened teacher had such high hopes for having a meaningful discussion about true things to be thankful for, yet unfortunately his students really missed the point! My students certainly had some great giggles about the list. As a follow up to reading this, I decided to launch a discussion about what my class was thankful for. My concern was they would use the book as a guide and a foolish discussion would ensue. To hopefully completely avoid this, I instructed them to think carefully and come up with appropriate and meaningful choices, unlike the book. One by one they shared multiple things they were grateful for that touched my heart like my baby sister, food, God, family, and yes even my teacher! A lump came to my throat as they sincerely shared what they truly felt were their greatest blessings. One little girl even said to my delight, “Don’t worry Mrs. R.! We take this very seriously!” I was so proud that they really “got” what it meant to be thankful and it was one of those teaching moments that will forever be etched in my memory!
All this can’t help but make me wonder… do we as adults always” get” what it truly means to be sincerely thankful? We have so much to be thankful for, yet it is so easy to complain and focus on what we don’t have, over what we do! We want more money, a bigger home, a better job, the list goes on and on! Do we see the glass half full or half empty? The choice is up to us each and every day! I remember years ago when Oprah came up with the idea of gratitude journals. She inspired many to take a pause and really remember all the blessings both big and small that are right in front of them! As a child I recall singing “Count Your Blessings,” in Sunday school at the top of my lungs, despite the fact that at that time I didn’t get it as I do now. At present amongst my richest blessings are: my relationship with God, my wonderful family, incredible friends, a career opportunities that are absolutely perfect for me, and the fact that I have published my first book, just to name a few. My list could go on and on and even for that reason alone, I am thankful! Singing is also one of my passions and I am very relieved and thankful that God saw fit to bless me with a singing voice that many people seem to like!
I have sang solos for many years and one Thanksgiving I had a solo at our church called “I’m Forever Grateful.” I practiced so much at home that my then two year old daughter Shannon would sing along with me so sweet and sincere how she was forever “gratebull,” too! So what’s the lesson here folks? It is quite simple actually. I ask of you, what are you forever “gratebull” for? Perhaps you are at a point in your life where it is hard to see. To assist you, consider making a list or starting a gratitude journal today. It can really help us see the “big picture” and focus on what we often take for granted. Life is hard and stressful at times! Believe me I get it! If you can try to see the positive however, in even the most difficult circumstances and develop an attitude of thankfulness, this will really carry you far! “Thank you” for listening to me and reading this blog! I pray that the list of things you are blessed with continues to grow and grow! If Junie B. was here, I know just what she would say. It would go something like this... "Listen up people ! I thinked and thinked about this real hard and being really thankful is the bestest thing ever!" I would have to say... "Thanks Junie B. couldn't have said it better myself! ; )"
Little lesson learned: Always have a grateful heart!
"What a beautiful thing, God to give thanks. Psalms 92:1 (The Message)
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2013
A mother holds her children’s hands for a while, but their hearts forever.”
Update: Tyler is now 18 and he has graduated! He is off to University of Windsor in the fall! Where has the time gone?
The other night I was sitting down with our 17 year old son Tyler and helping him examine options for university next year. As he was trying to make wise decisions about his career path, I couldn’t help but think where has the time gone? It is very unbelievable to me that I am actually helping MY
child select a post secondary course of study! Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was clinging to my leg at Montessori school, not wanting to go? Now here we are and I am the one clinging to him, not wanting him to go! I don’t feel ready, yet I have had all these years to prepare! It’s funny how some things in life feel like they have caught you off guard, but really we just were too busy to really see them coming. I remember years ago thinking when will they grow up? They are so needy right now. I wondered when will I EVER have some quality alone time? I even wrote a poem about it and it was the first thing I ever had published. It was called “Someday” and it was published in the Salvation Army women’s magazine called Catherine. I am happy to know that even then in all the ups and downs of
parenting little ones, I recognized there were many things that I would greatly miss about that season of my life. Here is the poem. I read it now with much nostalgia and it is the things I miss that take a front seat in my reflections.
Someday it will be so nice when I can
- Shower without an audience
- Tidy the house and it actually stays tidy
- Do errands without an entourage of little feet, car seats and diaper bags
- Go grocery shopping without a list containing diapers, wipes, baby food,
- Have quiet conversation with my husband at dinner
- Linger at a restaurant and actually say “yes” to that much desired coffee
- Have uninterrupted sleep
- Dine at fine establishments
- Only have myself to get ready to go somewhere
- Be free of packing a diaper bag that resembles a suitcase filled with every
possible item I may need
- Nap anytime I please
- Talk on the phone without worrying about what is going on in another room
- Actually get something out of a church service
- Hear myself think
- Watch Oprah instead of Barney
- Not have to change diapers and wipe noses on a continuous basis
- Walk through the house without tripping over toys
- Curl up in a chair and read a book
- Have a bowl of ice cream and not have to share
However when that day comes there will be
- No hugs and kisses from little angels
- No gleeful baby giggles
- No funny expressions and sayings that bring a smile to my face
- No dancing in the kitchen to our many theme songs
- No looking for little things on walks like doggies, flags and school
- No seeing the world through a child’s eyes
- No cuddling on the couch with little snugglers
- No chance to burst with pride as someone compliments me on my beautiful
- No opportunity to pass around baby pictures
- No feeling that even the simplest outing is being perceived as the greatest
field trip of a lifetime
- No curling up in our favourite chair and having my three year old “read” to
me his favourite stories
- No more prayers for Goliath or the Teletubbies
- No little helpers who enjoy assisting with even the most mundane chores
- No puppet shows, children’s birthday parties or days at the park
- No Timbit runs to Tim Hortons
- No more tea parties with “Mr. Jones”
- No little people who think I can do not wrong
- No little friends to share my life with
- No unexplainable comfort of knowing that my children are safe and loved all
- No thrills at watching them change, grow, and accomplish new things
- No little ones that need me quite like they used to
It is then that I will realize, as everyone says, “This too shall pass,” when it comes to the frustrating aspects of parenting little ones, that so will the great things. At that time I will see the “big picture” and fully realize that I wish that “someday” had never come!
Hmmm… Well here I am fourteen years later and I do feel that way so much! I remember the day that both my kids were old enough to each take a hand and walk side by side with me. I felt the significance of that moment even then as I knew they were really growing up. My mom used to say as we were growing at different stages “I miss my little people.” At the time I did not get it, but I sure do now! I miss my “little people” too, but I am also so proud of the “big people” they are becoming.
I am excited to see what the future holds for both my kids, yet a little sad that it all went too fast. Whatever stage you are at with your kids my friends, enjoy it! Before you know it, it will be over so quickly so take a deep breath, say a little prayer and just relax! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2013