Resolving to Love our Children

I recently celebrated my fifteenth wedding anniversary. I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately. How do we know we are loved? What things do the people in our lives do for us that tell us most deeply that we are loved?

After I first got married, I encountered the idea that people have different languages for showing and receiving love, an idea made popular by the many books of Gary Chapman. Some people spend time together. Some need words of affirmation. Some give gifts. Some rely on physical closeness while others show love through acts of service.

As a newlywed, this idea helped me understand concrete ways to nurture my relationship with my spouse, and lately, I’ve been wondering about how these ideas impact my relationships with my children.

I tell my children everyday that I love them, but do they feel it? Do they feel loved when I tell them with words? When we wrestle? When we play games of Go, Fish? When I wash their laundry or take them to swimming practice? When I buy them something special?

If they feel loved in ways that I less naturally show, then they might feel less connected to me than I think, so I am making a commitment to learn the ways they show and receive love by asking these simple questions:

How do you know that I love you?

What things do I do that help you know I love you?

With older children, this can happen with conversations. For younger children, we can experiment to discover what kinds of interactions bring them the most joy.

For many of us with children, our days are filled to bursting with daily life: waking, meals, naptime, soccer practice, dance class, school drop off, laundry, grocery shopping, arranging childcare, doctor’s visits, class projects, birthday parties, and picture days.

We make choices about how to spend our free time. If I know how my children feel most loved, I can concentrate on engaging with them in their own language as much as I can. I want my children to experience life knowing that they have a place in their family and that they are loved. I can prioritize those things.

In 2017, with the calendar of unspent days stretching out in front of me, let’s learn about the ways in which our children feel loved. Happy New Year!

Knowing Where We’re From

I’ve been trying for weeks to pen a feeling I have about knowing physical places. The words keep alluding me; somehow, this idea floats in my being just beyond words. Nevertheless, with spring bursting on my doorstep, these words demand sharing.

In recent weeks, my children have each spoken words that captured what it means to know the place where we live. My six-year-old was telling her brother about her daily walk home from school: (more…)

Climbing UP The Slide? A Right To Recess? Powerful Princess? Yes, Please!

A few years ago, I was teaching a class to a group of early childhood educators, and one of the participants had just visited a local bookstore. On her desk sat a copy of It’s OK NOT To Share by Heather Shumaker. I was so intrigued by the title that I went out and bought my own copy immediately.

Good choice.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know I am a fan. Heather Shumaker is wise, funny, and so timely with her advice to parents and educators. So I am excited to share that (more…)

Sneak Peak

Okay, so remember last August when I told you I wrote a book? Way back then, it still didn’t have a title. But we’ve made progress!

Discovering the Culture of Childhood will be released in June 2016. The cover has been finalized, and I can give you a sneak peek today! Isn’t it lovely? The design team a Redleaf Press did a fabulous job; I couldn’t be more pleased!

Also, I am excited to share that my book features stories contributed by early childhood educators from across the United States and Canada of their work with young children, including Kisha Reid, Marc Battle, Kelly Matthews, Tom “Teacher Tom” Hobson, Melissa Cady, and Denita Dinger. Their voices add a spectacular richness and complexity to my narrative, and I am so grateful that they were willing to share their stories in this book.

The process of writing and editing has been incredibly rewarding, and I am thrilled to be so close to the publication date!

I Will Sit With You When You Are Sad.

We are winding our way through Yellowstone, and my oldest daughter, is hard at work with a pencil and paper.  She is flustered, and cries angrily.

“I canNOT do it!  I am TRYING to draw a BEAR!  It does not LOOK like a BEAR!!  I drew an elk that I am very proud of, but I cannot DRAW A BEAR!”

She is frustrated. Annoyed. She works the lines but they are unwieldy, her fine motor skills failing to interpret between her mind and the paper.

I want to say, (more…)