The Block Island Times

Modeling good behavior

By Sherry Carley | Dec 07, 2011

One of the things you learn as an early childhood director is to treat each child with dignity and respect and in return the child will learn to respect parents, their peers, family and other adults. As a parent you must prepare yourself to be a good listener; listening to children of all ages and giving them compassion and kindness is important.

Children have a tendency to worry about family issues. For instance, close to Thanksgiving years ago, I had a 4-year old girl in my class named Sunday. Every day that week she came to school and instead of playing with the toys, she would put her head down on the children’s table and cry. I asked three days in a row, “Sunday, what is wrong honey?”

She would say, “I can’t tell you today, I will tell you tomorrow.” She would eventually stop crying and join in circle time, sing the songs and do the finger plays. This went on for a few days.

I tried again: “Sunday, Mrs. Carley is sad because you are so sad. Please help me understand why you are crying.”

Sunday looked up at me with these big brown eyes and said “My mommy and daddy are fighting all the time at home and I don’t want my daddy to leave the house.”

I said, “Well, what does your mommy say?” Sunday replied, “My mommy told my daddy if he didn’t get rid of his girlfriend she was going to kick him in the ass and throw him out the door.”

I hugged the child and asked her if I should talk to mommy and tell her why she was so sad. She said “Would you do that Mrs. Carley?” I said yes and she shouldn’t worry now.

Mom was a mother of three children and only 21 years old. After explaining to her about Sunday, she said she had no idea the child knew anything and she would talk to her husband in private.

The next day Sunday came into the classroom and hugged me and told me how happy she was. She said “Mrs. Carley, my mommy and daddy were hugging each other last night and hugging me too. I am so happy. I think my daddy got rid of his girlfriend. Thank you Mrs. Carley.”

Albert Schweitzer once said, “The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.”

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

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