I’m so excited! We have another guest blogger. Jen Anderson is a longtime parent at Aldersgate. She is also our current Personnel Chair on the Aldersgate Preschool Board.
I was making dinner one night and gave my kids some new markers and asked them to draw a picture for Grandma and Grandpa that we would mail to them. “Success!” I thought to myself as all three kids started working without a fight and I started dinner. After a few minutes, my six-year-old asked me if I liked his picture. “Yep, looks great!” I quickly responded as I knew my time for peace was running short. As he continued describing each item in his picture, I responded with a vague, “looks good”, “great idea”, “good color”.
As I continued to cut the apples (who am I kidding, this was not a gourmet meal!), I suddenly had a quick flashback to one of the Aldersgate teachers I had seen recently during the class work time. She was preparing art materials for the next activity when a child came up to tell her a story. She stopped what she was doing, got down on the level of the child, and had a glowing smile on her face as the child explained, in detail, a story about her weekend. As I watched, the teacher gave her complete attention to the child and one may have thought it was the most interesting story of all time as she responded to the child and asked specific questions. After the (long!) story ended, the girl turned and went back to play. Then, the teacher returned to art setup.
I knew this Aldersgate teacher had other things to do; but she gave the child undivided attention. I put down the apples and went to sit by my son. He had a huge smile on his face as he explained every detail of his picture. As I listened to his story about the picture, I realized my attentiveness to his story was much more important for those three minutes than my dinner prep.
As the new year begins, I am going to make a concerted effort to limit my vague compliments of “good job”, “looks good”, “I like it” to really focusing on my children and asking them specific questions — as modeled by Aldersgate teachers! Thank you Aldersgate teachers for not only teaching my children, but reminding ME what is most important! Jen Anderson
Thanks Jen! As a follow up to Jen’s wonderful blog post, I came across this article that talks about a parent’s presence in another way. For those who love to ponder all sides of an idea here is another interesting article: Your Presence is Enough.