4 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR KID’S TEACHER
Posted by Natalie Kitchen
Do you remember your first grade teacher? I loved mine. I remember how Ms. Parker erased the board from left to right every day and then wrote the new date in the top right hand corner. I also remember how she showed me how to use a ruler because I was sick on the day she taught everyone else. She knelt near my desk and she helped me measure my arm and my folder and my snack.
Now that our oldest is in school, I’m beginning to understand the crazy reality of widening his circle. I know his teachers will spend many of the quality hours of his week guiding and molding him, so I want our partnership with those teachers to be strong.
And because I’ve been a teacher longer than I’ve been a parent, I’m clinging to a few things I hope to remember now that I’m on the other side of the playground fence.
1 – MAKE IT PERSONAL
I know the hardest time to get to know a teacher is when my kid needs help or is in trouble. I want to make it a point to befriend his teachers as soon as possible. Ask them questions about their classroom and their life. Connect with them however I can and as early as I can. Show them that I am interested in them and what they do to love and serve my child every day. That way, when there’s a bump in the road, my relationship is strong enough for honesty and compassion on both sides.
2 – MODEL RESPECT
As our kids grow in their understanding of authority, I know they’ll look to us to learn how to respond when they’re faced with conflict. I feel our disrespect of our child’s teachers will breed their future disrespect of us and other authorities in their life. I want to encourage and model respect, and help them learn from the decisions their teachers make, good and bad.
3 – GIVE
I remember being so touched that a mom randomly brought me new Expo markers that I called her at home to thank her. I want to give my time. My enthusiasm. My old magazines. It doesn’t matter. I know I want to show up and show my kid’s teachers I’m willing to support their every-day, super-tough work.
4 – PRAY
I think I realized how much I like praying on the first day I watched that school bus drive away from our street. Talking to God about my kids’ day is a great way to relieve a lot of anxiety about the things I can’t control . . . and a great way to thank Him for the inevitable and wonderful ways their circles are widening.
What other ways would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author:
Natalie Kitchen is on the multi-campus preschool team at North Point Ministries, where she serves to equip six area campuses and a network of strategic partners with training and resources. Her love for learning and curriculum is rooted in her experience as a middle and high school classroom teacher. She is married to Britt Kitchen and they have three children: Nolan, Ellie and Ben.
Just Wear The Stupid Gym Shorts
by Holly Crawshaw
Am I the only Mama who feels like 5:00pm – 7:00pm are the worst hours of the day? I mean, what good occurs between 5:00pm – 7:00pm?
Nobody likes what we had for dinner.
You can smell my cat’s litter box from the driveway.
The dishes are teetering over the edge of the sink.
I can’t understand my 1st grader’s homework.
My girls are tired.
Let’s be honest – even the cat’s in a bad mood.
And yet… it’s still… not… bedtime.
I call these hours the Evening Vortex. It’s never-ending. If you call or text me during this time, and I respond, it’s because I’m begging you for help.
I don’t know what possessed me to sign up my 1st grader for a dance class that starts at 6:00pm – RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VORTEX – but I did. Last week, on the day of her dance class, she also had P.E. at school, which she has to dress out for. She got off the bus in her cute little gym shorts and t-shirt and I thought, Perfect. She doesn’t even have to change before dance class.
I needed to run some errands (AKA, enter another, far more enjoyable vortex called Target), so we went straight from the bus stop to town. When we got back in the car to drive to dance, Lilah said, “Well, who is going to bring me my leotard?”
I remember I was sweating, trying to get my 2-year-old buckled in her carseat (a practice that is a lot like wrestling with an enraged baby bull). I absently said, “Lilah, you’ll just wear your gym shorts, babe. We don’t have time to go back home.”
AAAAAAAAND CUE A LEVEL 12 MELTDOWN.
We argued the whole way to dance class. “But Mama,” she said, “all the other girls wear leotards!”
And I said, “Lilah, I’m not going to make you go to dance class. I’m tired, we all need to eat dinner, the house is a wreck… just decide what you want to do.”
And as her big blue eyes filled up with tears, she said, “Okay… what would YOU do, Mama? If you were me?”
AAAAAAAAND CUE MY OWN LEVEL 12 MELTDOWN.
In that moment, I was filled with so much conviction.
What would you do, Mama? If you were me?
In other words, Put yourself in my shoes.
Why had I not done this before? Why do I not do this more ALL THE TIME as a parent? It’s one of the first things we teach our children –The Golden Rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Would I want to walk into a room and feel completely underdressed? NO! I wouldn’t wear jeans to a wedding. And, no, I wouldn’t want to wear yucky gym shorts while everyone else was wearing beautiful leotards.
Here I was, trying to get my 7-year-old to do something that I wouldn’t even want to do. And I wondered how often I had done that… How often I had expected adult-like behavior from my kid.
You better believe this Mama yanked that baby up and squeezed her to me for about thirty seconds. Then I dashed home, getting her into her most favorite leotard, and took her back to dance class.
We were only ten minutes late. (In full disclosure, there may have been several traffic/speed violations involved.)
I want to be better at putting myself in my daughters’ tiny shoes. I want to treat them the way I’d like to be treated.
About the Author:
Holly Crawshaw is a wife, mother, and writer who eats sour candy and laughs at her own jokes. She served on staff with North Point Ministries for six years, the latter of which was spent as Preschool Director. She and her husband, Ben, are raising their two daughters, Lilah and Esmae, in their hometown of Cumming, GA.
25 Days of Compassion
by Karen Wilson
Christmas is the most wonderful time of year.
What makes it so special? The jingle bells, the wrapped presents, the winter wonderlands, the roasting chestnuts, the squeals of children…?
Or is it that we are celebrating the greatest gift and acts of compassion ever! God sending his son Jesus into this world over two thousand years ago.
It could be that we’ve kind of lost the joy of Christmas in our efforts to make it special or gotten side tracked with all the stress we’ve tacked onto it…and then of course there’s the overspending and overeating.
But what if you were deliberate as a family this year to spend time focusing on the reason for the season to celebrate God’s ultimate gift of compassion by showing compassion to others?
We’ve created an advent calendar that has you covered with 25 days of Compassion. Print it out, pull it up on your Each day until Christmas, there’s a sentence of the Christmas Story to read as a family (seen each day in bold) and an activity your family can do together to show compassion.
Remember to give yourself compassion too, if you’re not able to do every single thing on the calendar, and feel free to replace some of the ideas with your own!
Share your family’s stories with us in the comments below or on social media using the #ParentCueChristmas hashtag!
About the Author:
Karen Wilson is the Chief Editor for the Parent Cue blog and a Lead Editor for Orange Books. Previously, she has worked in Education and International Business. She and her husband Mark have two children, Elijah and Sara.