Today, we are thrilled to have a guest post from blogger and writer Emily Henson. Her post is especially applicable during these first weeks of school. Read, enjoy, and leave a comment!
About Emily: I am a writer of Young Adult fiction currently in the process of getting my first book published. My goal as a writer is to compose stories that provide solace, laughter, and wisdom while stimulating my readers to engage meaningfully in the world. I am the proud wife to a fantastic husband and the mother of one, beautiful daughter. We hope, with the Lord’s blessing, to bring many more delightful children into the world.
I am a former elementary instructor and now work part time as a self-employed educational consultant assisting teachers in perfecting their methods of education for the betterment of students. Students from Pre-Kindergarten through the Fifth Grade lean on adults for their primary education. Our role as parents and teachers is immensely influential on a child’s mind and character. For that reason, our job to educate them should intimidate us and simultaneously spur us on to be the best mentor a child could witness. The greatest enabler to influencing a child is the ability to think like one. Our adult minds so often forget how even the minutest of our actions or words are perceived by youth and that can be a drastic impediment which may affect a child for life.
Follow Emily and her amazing work at www.eahensonbooks.com, as well as on Facebook (E.A. Henson Books) and Twitter (@eahhensonbooks)!
For the Little Ones
And the Mentors that Guide Them
By: E.A. Henson
I noticed the ability when I became a teacher. As my little one now toddles around her big world, I am getting to experience the phenomenon just about every minute. Thinking through the mind of a child; not many adults can do it, in fact, most cannot. This trait, or talent, or whatever you want to call it, really came as a bitter-sweet shock to me. I felt deeply the frustrations of my students as they strove to progress in school, to impress their peers and parents. Watching their desperate attempts at success brought back the dormant emotions I experienced in school. The delighted smile of my second grade teacher as she read one of my imaginative stories, the frown or snide remark of another teacher that nearly ripped my eager-to-please, young heart to pieces. Those memories served me well as I stepped into the shoes that could affect my students and how they saw themselves.
Occasionally, teachers I worked with would share with me their disappointment in one of their students who “just doesn’t get it” and “probably never will”. If I alone knew of the teacher’s disgust, the story would not be as sad but so often teachers very clearly relate their frustration and impatience to the “low achieving” or “misbehaved” student through their words or actions.
Let me pause here to be clear. I strongly encourage teachers to set high standards for their students and to expect them to reach or surpass those goals; however, tearing a child’s self-worth to shreds will only serve to break his or her spirit. In my experience, when the average child struggles behaviorally or academically the fault lies most with the adults in their lives who have not given them the time or love for which they yearn.
I’m speaking for the little ones who have no voice yet. They know not how to speak for themselves or even that there exists something against which to protest. You see, they believe you when you tell them they are ‘good’ or they are ‘bad’, ‘smart’ or simply ‘frustrating’. They believe their teachers, mothers, fathers, and that is why our job can be fearful and wonderful in each moment. That is why we need to become like children when our ego threatens to blind us from remembering what it is like to be little ones. You might learn from them equally what you can teach.
My little one has taught me patience, and to wave at strangers again, to sing when I want to, to have joy in the small things, to laugh at life, to cry when I’m hurt. My students showed me how much I don’t know through their constant questions. They reminded me what it is like to be a student and that allowed me to be a better teacher. Children are full of light and life in a world often consumed by hate and darkness, they are eager to please sometimes even in the face of determined disapproval. We have the power and the choice to bolster a child’s self-worth and their thirst for knowledge or the power to neglect and scorn them until they forget how to believe in themselves. If every teacher or mentor of a child could remove the cobwebs from that corner of their heart where the child in them still lives and smile openly when a child tries their hardest or speak the right words when they struggle, we might see a renewed light and life surge into our future generations.
Matt 19:14 – But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”