Two weeks ago, my wife gave birth to our third child, Emily Jean. She is doing well, and we have all adapted quickly to the addition. My other kids – Sophie who is three and Johnny who will be two in February – get along and play surprisingly well together. The other night while sitting in the living room, I watched them playing at my feet and I began to realize that there was much to learn from their behavior. As teachers, we can take these lessons to heart.
Fact #1 – Sophie is the boss. She calls the shots and Johnny follows them, no questions asked.
Lesson #1 – The reason I have yet to witness a toddler mutiny is because Sophie plays fair and doesn't abuse the authority she has over her brother. Sure, sometimes Johnny has to play dress up (on several occasions I have come home to find him dress in sequins and Barbie high heels), but Sophie also suggests other activities like coloring or playing with her brother's beloved toy trucks. She knows how to give and take, and this makes it easy for Johnny to follow her lead.
Fact #2 – When one of the kids doesn't want to eat dinner, my wife and I give them two choices: they can finish the meal now, or they can eat it later instead of having a snack before bedtime.
Lesson #2 – The sooner someone learns to cope with the fact that what they want is not necessarily a choice, the better off that person will be. We are all faced with thing we don't want to do, but sometimes we just need to tough it out and get through it.
Fact #3 – Everything Sophie does, Johnny does too.
Lesson #3 – When Sophie needs to blow her nose, so does Johnny. When she wants an apple, Johnny does too. It's not always a positive thing – when Sophie tantrums at the dinner table and tosses her fork to the ground, there is ultimately two utensils to pick up. As an administrator your faculty and staff will work from your cues and actions – regardless of whether they are positive or negative. It's your job to present yourself as a positive role model. The best way to prevent faculty from exhibiting negative behaviors is to not practice them yourself.
Fact #4 – Whenever Sophie asks for something, she begins the sentence with “Please may can I...”
Lesson #4 – Okay, so maybe her syntax is off a bit, but her desire to be polite is overwhelming. We teach manners at such a young age, yet so many adults forget them (or forget the art of being gracious). As the old adage goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
Fact #5 – In the mornings, we have to check on Johnny to see if he's awake. If we don't go in to get him, he will sit for hours looking at books in his crib.
Lesson #5 – There is nothing wrong with the occasional silent meditation.
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