Yessiree, this is the 100th post of Wonder of Children! What started as a loose-outlined idea on New Year’s Eve 2008 has grown into a much larger undertaking. I’m not entirely sure what I expected, but I surely didn’t expect such a large following, nor the discussion and connections on education and child development. I also didn’t expect to be so taken with the process of writing about what I love (teaching, learning, kids). Despite this gratitude and passion, I found the prospect of writing The Hundredth Post daunting. Overwhelming. Fodder for procrastination.
Why the pressure? Maybe it ‘s all those “100th Day of School” celebrations and annual hype over the past twenty years in school. The Hundredth Post felt like it had to be a big bang. I wasn’t sure I had a big bang in me. The vast majority of my blog posts just pop into my head as I kid-watch (like the character Clementine , sometimes “Spectacularful ideas are always sproinging up in my brain”). When you’re surrounded by joyful, curious children in settings that are methodically designed to bring out the best in children and adults, it’s fertile ground for writing topics, not your typical work.
I found myself wrestling my monkey mind to get ready to write The Hundredth Post. In my yoga practice I tried selling myself a dose of self-compassion. Not much movement. It wasn’t until a discussion about “anger” with my preschoolers, that I found the beleaguered centennial post.
A parent in my class was wrestling (rather successfully) to help her child understand and express in healthy ways, anger and frustration. No easy task for sure, especially at this time of the school year. I brought in a stack of picture books on feelings. We sat for a while reading the pictures. My group immediately realized they were about “people being mean” or “people making angry faces.” We talked about the concrete observations (body language and hues on the page), then the conversation quickly turned to personal connections. When I asked why they thought I shared these books, one response was, “cuz you don’t want us to get angry with our friends.” That seemed to be a logical response from a four year-old, but I took the opportunity to share with them “no, I don’t expect that you don’t get angry. We all get angry sometimes….” The discussion continued as we explored what makes us feel angry or frustrated and what we do when we feel those feelings. It’s just the start of the conversation, but it’s a small start. My message to them when you feel angry or frustrated is to do something that makes you feel better but shows respect and care for others and yourself.
I was reminded that it’s often those unsettled, unresolved, unrealistic feelings or expectations that set us (big and small) off. We don’t even realize what is at the heart of that unfettered energy, even as it pings out unintentionally at ourselves or someone else. Teachers see this in the classroom and parents see this at home. Right? Just like teaching children to manage their belongings, recognize letters and patterns, jump and hop, we need to also help them learn to identify and manage their emotions. Nothing wrong with feeling angry or frustrated.
- walk away
- breath – sit in the Meditation Station
- use words
- talk to a grown up
- ignore them/it
- draw or “scribble scrabble” or write it
Once again, I find myself learning lessons from my wee friends. Facing those uncomfortable feelings is never easy, but it often leads to bigger and better things. Wrangling over how to write The Hundredth Post wasn’t a big deal, but I let it become big. It was unsettling and festered, when really, it was just another day in the office.
So as long as you’re willing to check in and read the posts, I’ll keep on watching kids and writing.
And now, onto the second Hundred Posts!