Updated February 2018!
Valentine's Day is an annual holiday celebrated around the world on February 14. It began as a feast honoring Saint Valentine but is now celebrated as a holiday dedicated to love and friendship. (Adapted from Wikipedia)
Following are some great stories, videos and arts and crafts activities for children for this special day.
For children ages 1-4
For children ages 5-7
For children ages 8 to 11
Young people can drive you up the wall at times! But keep trying to reach them and relate to them. Try to get on their level and be one with them. If you can develop a link, a connection, then you can start getting through to them and making some real progress.
Frustration is the price you have to pay when you work with young people. That’s just the way it sometimes is; that’s just a fact of life.
Your knowledge and experience comes from years of ups and downs, successes and failures, and quite a few trying situations, whereas these teens are just starting out. Keeping that in mind will help you to have patience. Also, try not to compare this group with other teens you have worked with; some kids are slow at wanting to grow up, others are quicker. You can’t let yourself get overly frustrated about these things.
Let them break the mold
As young people grow up, they generally need more freedom to make their own choices without someone trying to fit them into a certain mold. Some people just don’t and won’t fit into the mold you try to put them into! You’ve got your mold, you’ve got your idea about how they should be or act, but you can’t expect even your children to be that way, to be just like you and totally conform to your ideals.
You may need to start changing your perspective. You may need to change the way you look at these young people, and start looking for things that you admire about them—for how well they do in spite of the pressures and difficulties they face.
Be willing to get your hands dirty
Don’t give up! Just get in there and don’t worry about getting your hands dirty. It is a bit like gardening—you can’t really be a gardener unless you are willing to get your hands dirty. Plants aren’t going to thrive or grow if all the gardener is willing to do is just watch them and water them. Sometimes plants need re-potting because their roots are getting too long and numerous for the pot they’re in, or the soil they are in needs to be changed because it has lost its nutrients or is getting moldy.
So it is with growing young people—they may need some personal attention from someone who isn’t afraid to get right in there and help them find solutions to their problems. Sometimes they get tangled up and just can’t help themselves, and they need the help of the gardener. Watch out for them like the gardener watches out for the warning signs—leaves turning yellow or getting spotted or drying up, soil getting moldy or plants drooping from insufficient water. There are shade plants, and there are sun plants; there are plants that need a lot of water, and there are others that hardly need any. There are plants that need much care and have to be misted daily. Then there are cacti that hardly need any care.
Your part is to just be a faithful, loving, caring gardener—to keep your eye on those plants and do what you can to help tend and care for them. The gardener learns what he can do, and does what he can to help the plants. And like any gardener, you can only give it your best, then you must leave the rest up to God.
Excerpted from “Parenteening”, by Derek and Michelle Brookes. © Aurora Productions. Photo by Kristin via Flickr.
Thomas Armstrong, PhD
The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.
These intelligences are:
Dr. Gardner says that our schools and culture focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. We esteem the highly articulate or logical people of our culture. However, Dr. Gardner says that we should also place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: the artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, therapists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world in which we live.
Unfortunately, many children who have these gifts don’t receive much reinforcement for them in school. Many of these kids, in fact, end up being labeled “learning disabled,” “ADD(attention deficit disorder) [sufferers],” or simply underachievers, when their unique ways of thinking and learning aren’t addressed by a heavily linguistic or logical-mathematical classroom.
The theory of multiple intelligences proposes a major transformation in the way our schools are run. It suggests that teachers be trained to present their lessons in a wide variety of ways using music, cooperative learning, art activities, role-play, multimedia, field trips, inner reflection, and much more. The good news is that the theory of multiple intelligences has grabbed the attention of many educators, … and hundreds of schools are currently using its philosophy to redesign the way it educates children. The bad new is that there are thousands of schools still out there that teach in the same old dull way, through dry lectures, and boring worksheets and textbooks. The challenge is to get this information out to many more teachers, school administrators, and others who work with children, so that each child has the opportunity to learn in ways harmonious with their unique minds.
The theory of multiple intelligences also has strong implications for adult learning and development. Many adults find themselves in jobs that do not make optimal use of their most highly developed intelligences (for example, the highly bodily-kinesthetic individual who is stuck in a linguistic or logical desk job when he or she would be much happier in a job where they could move around, such as a recreational leader, a forest ranger, or physical therapist). The theory of multiple intelligences gives adults a whole new way to look at their lives, examining potentials that they left behind in their childhood (such as a love for art or drama) but now have the opportunity to develop through courses, hobbies, or other programs of self-development.
How to Teach or Learn Anything 8 Different Ways
One of the most remarkable features of the theory of multiple intelligences is how it provides eight different potential pathways to learning. If a teacher is having difficulty reaching a student in the more traditional linguistic or logical ways of instruction, the theory of multiple intelligences suggests several other ways in which the material might be presented to facilitate effective learning. Whether you are a kindergarten teacher, a graduate school instructor, or an adult learner seeking better ways of pursuing self-study on any subject of interest, the same basic guidelines apply. Whatever you are teaching or learning, see how you might connect it with…
For example, if you’re teaching or learning about the law of supply and demand in economics, you might read about it (linguistic), study mathematical formulas that express it (logical-mathematical), examine a graphic chart that illustrates the principle (spatial), observe the law in the natural world (naturalist) or in the human world of commerce (interpersonal); examine the law in terms of your own body [e.g. when you supply your body with lots of food, the hunger demand goes down; when there’s very little supply, your stomach’s demand for food goes way up and you get hungry] (bodily-kinesthetic and intrapersonal); and/or write a song (or find an existing song) that demonstrates the law.
You don’t have to teach or learn something in all eight ways, just see what the possibilities are, and then decide which particular pathways interest you the most, or seem to be the most effective teaching or learning tools. The theory of multiple intelligences is so intriguing because it expands our horizon of available teaching/learning tools beyond the conventional linguistic and logical methods used in most schools (e.g. lecture, textbooks, writing assignments, formulas, etc.).
To get started, put the topic of whatever you’re interested in teaching or learning about in the center of a blank sheet of paper, and draw eight straight lines or “spokes” radiating out from this topic. Label each line with a different intelligence. Then start brainstorming ideas for teaching or learning that topic and write down ideas next to each intelligence (this is a spatial-linguistic approach of brainstorming; you might want to do this in other ways as well, using a tape-recorder, having a group brainstorming session, etc.). Have fun!
Excerpted from http://thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.htm.
Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and for sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and old friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly it is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide, innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.
Mark was an 11-year-old orphan who lived with his aunt—a bitter middle-aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s small son. She never failed to remind young Mark that, but for her generosity, he would be a vagrant homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.
I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the classroom. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude for that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly about his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.
As Christmas grew nearer, however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when, as the days passed, he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room.
“I miss being with you, Mark. Is something wrong at home?”
Those large gray eyes eagerly lit up. “Did you really miss me?”
“Yes, of course. You’re my best helper.”
“I was making you a surprise for Christmas,” he whispered confidentially.
With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school anymore after that.
Finally came the last day of school before the holidays. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back.
“I have your present,” He said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.”
He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palm was a tiny wooden chest.
“It’s beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked, opening the top and looking in.
“Oh, you can’t see what’s in it,” he replied, “and you can’t touch it or taste it, but Mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, and warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”
I gazed into the empty box. “What is it, Mark?” I asked gently. “What will make me feel so good?”
“It’s love,” he whispered softly,” and Mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.
So now I keep a small toy chest, crudely made of scraps of wood, on the piano in my living room, and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them there is love in it.
Yes, Christmas is for gaiety and mirth and song, for rich food and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.—Laurie
Courtesy of www.anchor.tfionline.com.
By Gregory M. Lamb, Christian Science Monitor
Parents want their kids and teens to care about others—whether at school, in their community, or in need a continent away.
The good news is that children “are sort of hard-wired” to want to help others, says Michael Ungar, author of “The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids.” “They want to take on responsibility.”
While adults do wonderful things to help others, even more amazing is the number of children and teens who are “making a difference,” too.
"Childhood projects are a great time to sort of step back and let the child develop those skills, from time management to seeing the impact on others if they don’t fulfill their obligations," says Dr. Ungar, a family counselor and professor of social work at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The bottom line: Support, but don’t shove. “Our kids are really watching us,” he says. “If we’re showing empathy to others, if we’re cooking a casserole for a neighbor who’s fallen down and broken her hip, if we’re doing those small things in our community,” kids will notice, he says.
Below, we highlight five outstanding young differencemakers—children and teens who have turned their care for others into impressive actions. They show that there’s no age barrier to becoming a force for good.
Wyatt: Making clay wiggle to save the oceans. Wyatt Workman was conducting his phone interview from a closet in his house.
It apparently was the 7-year-old’s private office, a place to speak with an inquiring reporter in some confidentiality.
The second-grader from Glendale, Calif., is a budding environmentalist, clay sculptor, book author, blogger, and auteur. His colorful, six-minute clay-animation movie (“Save the Sea from the Trash Monster!”) is attracting hits on YouTube and at his website, wyattsworks.com.
Next spring he’ll show his film at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., and speak on his favorite topic: cleaning up the world’s oceans.
"They want me to talk about the ocean," Wyatt says. "It’s going to be a big process!"
He’s contributing the proceeds from all his various artistic ventures to Oceana, a nonprofit ocean advocacy group (oceana.org).
Wyatt attends Wesley School in North Hollywood, Calif., which emphasizes community service.
As a 6-year old, he came home with an idea.
"I said ‘I want to make a movie,’ and my mom, like, freaked out," he says.
"He knew exactly what he wanted to do," says his mother, Timathea Workman. "He had me sit down for about 3-1/2 hours one evening while he dictated to me.
"He wanted me to write down all the things the characters would say and what would happen. Then he would work on the clay."
When Wyatt was ready, he’d call her in to take a photo with a camera, since his hands were covered with clay. The photos then were pieced together to create a stop-motion movie. (His cats—Chewie, Toulouse, and Marie—“helped out” by jumping up and making holes in the clay with their paws.)
Wyatt’s clay modeling (he’s made more than 70 sculptures of animals that he hopes to sell to fund ocean cleanup efforts) and moviemaking have led to additional ideas.
"I said, ‘we need one more thing to be cool,’ " Wyatt tells his interviewer. "And my mom said, ‘What’s that?’ And I thinked and I thinked and I thinked…. [Finally] I said, ‘I want to have a book.’ "
True to his word, still images from the movie will be published in book form, too.
"I want to be like Martin Luther King Jr. and do something to make the world a better place."
Alexa: Building schools for the disaster-struck. Alexa Peters loves drawing—and her dog, Cooper.
Now she’s turned that into a way to help others. The 12-year-old from Andover, Mass., has illustrated a picture book for children called “Cooper and Me,” the story of a young girl very much like Alexa who longs to take her dog with her to her first day of school (cooperandme.com).
Three dollars from the sale of each book goes to the Happy Hearts Fund (happyheartsfund.org), created by fashion model Petra Nemcova to improve the lives of children in countries hit by natural disasters. (Ms. Nemcova herself barely survived the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004. Her fiancé was swept away by the floodwaters and perished.)
Alexa hopes to raise $10,000 to help build three schools in Haiti through Happy Hearts. “We came upon the Happy Hearts Fund through a friend,” says Monique Peters, her mother, who wrote the story for “Cooper and Me.” Last February, they contacted Nemcova, and she eventually visited Alexa’s home. Nemcova was so impressed that she made Alexa the youngest “ambassador” for her program.
In June, Alexa and her mom went to Peru to visit three schools supported by Happy Hearts. The children “love going to school. It’s their safe haven,” Ms. Peters says. Homes often have no running water, refrigeration, or indoor plumbing. “They appreciate everything. They have so little,” she says.
Alexa is planning to illustrate a new book, with the story set in Peru. It may center on a 12-year-old boy they met named José, who walks for an hour each day to a larger city to sell candy to support his family.
Alexa’s advice for others who want to make a difference: “Keep going. And if it’s something you’re passionate about, really follow that dream, and you can be successful.”
Dylan: ‘One Starts Many’ to clean up the Gulf. Dylan Stock was in first grade when the Gulf oil spill began last April.
His class at The Principia School in St. Louis studied the spill’s effect on birds. He even went to a hair salon to gather human hair to be used on booms to capture the spreading oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
But Dylan wanted to do more. He created a website, onestartsmany.com, with help from his mother, Carrie Silver-Stock. “I was really worried about the sea creatures,” Dylan says. “My mom asked me if I wanted to make a website, and I said ‘sure’. And I came up with the name One Starts Many.”
The website includes Dylan’s ideas on how to protect the oceans.
At a November fundraiser he collected $1,145 to send to two Gulf charities, Kids in Need During Disaster (kindd.org), which buys clothing for children in a fishing town hit by the oil spill, and the Audubon Institute in New Orleans (auduboninstitute.org), which treats stranded and injured marine wildlife.
With support from WitKids (witkids.org), a program that supports kid-based projects (its motto is “whatever it takes to make the world a better place”), Dylan traveled to the Gulf last summer on his own “fact-finding” mission, which included meeting New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
In September, the 7-year-old spoke to first-graders through fifth-graders at his school to tell them about his trip. He also invited them to become members of his new Ocean Club, which he established at the school.
The club already has helped to clean up a local creek.
"It’s inspiring for us that he felt like he could make a difference," says Mrs. Silver-Stock. She and her husband, Steven Stock, wanted "to nurture that in any way that we can," she says. And Dylan says he isn’t done.
"I think I’ll stay interested in the ocean for a while," he says.
Danielle: A kid-run network spreads peace. Danielle Gram spent her childhood in Maryland in the years following the 9/11 attacks.
"I really didn’t understand why people from different cultures wanted to kill each other," says Ms. Gram, now 21 years old and a senior at Harvard University.
After her family moved to Carlsbad, Calif., she continued to think about the concept of peace and how to achieve it. She read the nonviolent philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi and studied what Buddhism and Christianity had to say on the subject.
In 2006, together with Jill McManigal, a mother of two young children, Gram, then 16, founded Kids for Peace (kidsforpeaceglobal.org), a nonprofit, child-led group that inspires kids to work together toward a more peaceful world.
Today Kids for Peace has more than 75 chapters in several countries. In August, its Great Kindness Challenge, where children try to see how many acts of kindness they can perform in a single day, drew thousands of participants in 50 countries.
Members also sign a six-line “peace pledge” in which they promise to “speak in a kind way,” “help others,” “care for our earth,” “respect people,” and work together.
Beyond that, kids in each chapter design their own projects.
"We really want the kids to be the leaders," Gram says.
"The passion to create a less violent world has really followed me throughout my life," Gram says. But a family tragedy last year brought it closer to home. Her only brother was murdered while on vacation.
"The police still have no idea what happened," she says. "He was found stabbed to death on the side of a road…. It’s certainly been a struggle for all of us. But every single one of my immediate family members has a deeper conviction that nonviolence is the way to respond. We see my brother’s death as just more of an inspiration to make sure that no other family has to experience this."
Jordyn: Removing dangerous drugs from homes. Jordyn Schara was shocked “to see the insane amount of medication people have in their homes that have been lying around waiting to be abused or stolen.”
Unused drugs create two huge problems: They are abused by teens trying to get high, who then can become sick or even die. Or they are flushed down the drain and creep into drinking water. “It means men are taking birth control [pills] and children are taking heart medications,” she says. “It’s definitely not a good thing.”
But when the 14-year-old in Reedsburg, Wis., asked state officials what she could do to help, they told her she was too young.
That didn’t stop Jordyn. She founded a Wisconsin branch of Prescription Pill Drug Disposal (p2d2program.org). She organized a drug drop-off day for her town, and recruited pharmacists and police officers to supervise the event.
The drug return day was “extremely successful,” she says. “People lined up around the block to get in. That was just a really great feeling to know that people were willing to participate.”
Hauling away and incinerating the drugs costs about $2 per pound.
"I had to get a lot of donations and grants to support the cost of this program," says Jordyn, who is now a 16-year-old high school sophomore. "I was the youngest person [at 14] to apply for and receive a state grant in Wisconsin" to help fund her project, she says.
The Save a Star Foundation (saveastar.org) in Highland Park, Ill., donated a prescription drug drop-off box, the size of a street-corner mailbox, that’s been installed at the police station. Her project has now become an ongoing part of the community.
"Sometimes it’s hard as a teenager. You think that people don’t listen to you or don’t pay attention to you," Jordyn says. "But, honestly, if you do a service project, people will start listening."
By Jessica Roberts
In the middle of math class, one of my second graders made this startling declaration: “There is no God!”
Considering that this was a Christian school and Martin was the son of a pastor, I had to wonder how he had suddenly come to this conclusion in my classroom. When asked, he proclaimed, “My dad says that there’s God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but also that there’s only one God. It makes no sense.”
What to do? I was sure that greater minds than Martin’s had contemplated the Holy Trinity and run into the same problem, but at the moment I really preferred to stick to multiplication.
“Martin, we’re in math class. We can talk about that later.”
“It is a math problem,” Martin replied. “Three is not the same as one!”
What parent or teacher hasn’t been similarly ambushed? From the lips of children come a lot of tough questions. I’ve learned that the best thing I can do in such cases is ask God for wisdom, because what I may interpret as cockiness or contrariness on the part of the child may in fact be divinely instilled inquisitiveness and a great teaching opportunity. I didn’t feel sufficiently brushed up on my theology to explain the concept of the Trinity to Martin and his classmates. …
Recess. Saved by the bell!
For the next ten minutes, while the children played, I prayed. And an answer came to me. It was a bit simplistic and probably not how St. Augustine or other Christian thinkers would have explained it, but it worked for Martin and the others when math class resumed.
“The Bible calls Jesus the Rose of Sharon,” I told them. “God is like the root of the rose bush. He’s hidden, but that’s where the rose had its beginning and grew from. Jesus is like the rose blossom. He is the showy part of God’s love that we can ‘see’ and sense. The Holy Spirit is like the sap that flows through the bush, keeping it alive. Three aspects, but the same rose bush. See?”
I imagine Martin will have even tougher questions in the future, and of course I have plenty of questions myself. Thankfully, God always answers when we ask sincerely. He may give a simple, straightforward explanation like the one He gave for Martin, or one that’s more involved, or He may simply give us peace to accept what we cannot yet understand.
Courtesy of Activated magazine. Used with permission.
Taken from Mr. Washington, by Les Brown
One day in 11th grade, I went into a classroom to wait for a friend of mine. When I went into the room, the teacher, Mr. Washington, suddenly appeared and asked me to go to the board to write something, to work something out. I told him that I couldn’t do it. And he said, Why not?
I said, Because I’m not one of your students.
He said, It doesn’t matter. Go to the board anyhow.
I said, I can’t do that.
He said, Why not?
And I paused because I was somewhat embarrassed. I said, Because I’m Educable Mentally Retarded.
He came from behind his desk and he looked at me and he said, Don’t ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.
It was a very liberating moment for me. On one hand, I was humiliated because the other students laughed at me. They knew that I was in Special Education. But on the other hand, I was liberated because he began to bring to my attention that I did not have to live within the context of what another person’s view of me was.
And so Mr. Washington became my mentor. Prior to this experience, I had failed twice in school. I was identified as Educable Mentally Retarded in the fifth grade, was put back from the fifth grade into the fourth grade, and failed again when I was in the eighth grade. So this person, Mr. Washington, made a dramatic difference in my life.
I always say that he operates in the consciousness of Goethe, who said, Look at a man the way that he is, and he only becomes worse. But look at him as if he were what he could be, and then he becomes what he should be.
Mr. Washington believed that Nobody rises to low expectations. This man always gave students the feeling that he had high expectations for them and we strove--all of the students strove—to live up to what those expectations were.
One day, when I was still a junior, I heard him giving a speech to some graduating seniors. He said to them, You have greatness within you. You have something special. If just one of you can get a glimpse of a larger vision of yourself, of who you really are, of what it is you bring to the planet, of your special- ness, then in a historical context, the world will never be the same again. You can make your parents proud. You can make your school proud. You can make your community proud. You can touch millions of people’s lives. He was talking to the seniors, but it seemed like that speech was for me.
I remember when they gave him a standing ovation. Afterwards, I caught up to him in the parking lot and I said, Mr. Washington, do you remember me? I was in the auditorium when you were talking to the seniors.
He said, What were you doing there? You are a junior.
I said, I know. But that speech you were giving, I heard your voice coming through the auditorium doors. That speech was for me, sir. You said they had greatness within them. I was in that auditorium. Is there greatness within me, sir?
He said, Yes, Mr. Brown.
But what about the fact that I failed English and math and history, and I’m going to have to go to summer school? What about that, sir? I’m slower than most kids. I’m not as smart as my brother or my sister who’s going to the University of Miami.
It doesn’t matter. It just means that you have to work harder. Your grades don’t determine who you are or what you can produce in your life.
I want to buy my mother a home.
It’s possible, Mr. Brown. You can do that. And he turned to walk away again.
What do you want now?
Uh, I’m the one, sir. You remember me—remember my name. One day you’re gonna hear it. I’m gonna make you proud. I’m the one, sir.
School was a real struggle for me. I was passed from one grade to another because I was not a bad kid. I was a nice kid; I was a fun kid. I made people laugh. I was polite. I was respectful. So teachers would pass me on, which was not helpful to me. But Mr. Washington made demands on me. He made me accountable. But he enabled me to believe that I could handle it, that I could do it.
He became my instructor my senior year, even though I was Special Education. Normally, Special Ed students don’t take Speech and Drama, but they made special provisions for me to be with him. The principal realized the kind of bonding that had taken place and the impact that he’d made on me, because I had begun to do well academically. For the first time in my life I made the honor roll. I wanted to travel on a trip with the drama department and you had to be on the honor roll in order to make the trip out of town. That was a miracle for me!
Mr. Washington restructured my own picture of who I am. He gave me a larger vision of myself, beyond my mental conditioning and my circumstances.
Years later, I produced five specials that appeared on public television. I had some friends call him when my program, You Deserve, was on the educational television channel in Miami. I was sitting by the phone waiting when he called me in Detroit. He said, May I speak to Mr. Brown, please?
You know who’s calling.
Oh, Mr. Washington, it’s you.
You were the one, weren’t you?
Yes, sir, I was.
Almost anyone’s list of “People Who Have Influenced My Life” includes at least one teacher. What kind of teachers are these?-The kind who use their talents to help develop others’ talents; the kind who strive to shape not just the mind but the heart. For me, it was a teacher we students came to affectionately call Auntie Marina.
Auntie Marina was level-headed and stricter than most of our other teachers and caretakers, firm in her sense of right and wrong, and at first we kids grumbled about that. Before long, however, we learned to trust her because we sensed that she cared about what kind of people we would become. We felt secure with Auntie Marina because she clearly defined our boundaries.
While Auntie Marina set limits and enforced the rules, she demonstrated equal amounts of positiveness and love, and she also had an appropriate sense of fun. School with her wasn’t limited to worksheets and textbooks. She took us on excursions and trips to the park, and shared her artistic talent in order to get us interested in arts and crafts.
She also had a knack for making each of us feel special, and one way she did this was by speaking positively about us to others when we were within earshot. I can still recall the pride I felt upon overhearing her tell another teacher how well I was doing in spelling. It was satisfying to know that my efforts had not gone unnoticed.
Auntie Marina’s care and love extended beyond the school years. For quite some time after our family moved to Taiwan, she sent me notes and cards. Ten years later, I still have several of them. When I reread one of those notes recently, I marveled at the concern and interest she had shown in corresponding with an eight-year-old: “Yesterday I came across your picture as I was preparing a photo album of ‘the children in my life’-those I’ve cared for and taught over the years-and I was reminded of how much I love you, my dear young friend.”
On my ninth birthday she wrote: “A very happy birthday to you. I pray that it will be a wonderful, special day for you, and a great new year of your life, full of good surprises and love-filled experiences. I’m happy to know you!”
On June 9, 2005, after a prolonged struggle with cancer, Auntie Marina passed away. I know I am only one of many who are better for having experienced her love, which she always reminded us was God’s love poured through her.
Courtesy of Activated magazine.
By Jessica Roberts
It’s the end of a long day of caring for sick children. No, not my own. They belong to a couple whose job often calls them away to tend to others’ needs at the sacrifice of some of their time together as a family. I am the children’s teacher, and I usually enjoy being a substitute parent, but not this week.
“I’m feeling overtired, run down, and stressed,” I grumble. “I’m way behind on the dishes and laundry, and I’m missing a beach trip with my friends to instead take care of a bunch of coughing, sniffling, whiny kids. The kids are having their midday nap, and my day still stretches before me. I haven’t had enough sleep or fresh air for days now. I’m not meant do this. I’m not their mother. Mothers have the patience, the selflessness, the unconditional love for their children to put up with all this! Not me. These kids are driving me crazy!”
A creak on the stairs tells me somebody’s awake. It’s two-year-old Susy. “What do you need, Susana?”
She pauses for half a second, then runs to me, throws her little arms around my neck, and whispers, “I love you!” Then she turns and runs back to bed.
I hear four-year-old Martin stirring, so I go to check on him. He opens one eye and mumbles sleepily, “You’re the bestest teacher ever!” Something about the way he smiles when he says that…
I think about their pure-hearted love and how they’ve adopted me. I remember all the laughs, the hugs, the discoveries we’ve shared.
Suddenly I’m not so tired anymore. I remember what Jesus said about loving the little people, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).
We’re going to have our best day yet! I’m sure there is a way to build a three-ring circus in the sick room. And when they reach that tired, grumpy hour before dinner, I’ll just shoot up a prayer and ask for some of the Lord’s unconditional love. And I’ll thank God for the blessing of having these kids to care for.
© The Family International
The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement. Yet, almost no one gets the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential. If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond our wildest dreams.--Sidney Madwed
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.--Dr. Leo Buscaglia
Charles Schwab, the successful businessman, said, "I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism."
Everyone wants and needs to be affirmed for his accomplishments. A little boy playing darts with his father said, "Let's play darts. I'll throw and you say 'Wonderful!'" That's what the encouraging person does for others.
We tend to become what the most important person in our life thinks we will become. Think the best, believe the best, and express the best in your children. Your affirmation will not only make you more attractive to them, but you will help play an important part in their personal development.
—John C. Maxwell (excerpted from the bookBe a People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships)
The movie "Stand and Deliver," tells the true story of Jaime Escalante, an immigrant from Bolivia who taught at Garfield High School in inner-city Los Angeles. He accomplished remarkable results with students known to be especially difficult to teach.
One story not depicted in the movie was the one about "the other Johnny." Escalante had two students named Johnny in his class. One was a straight A+ student; the other was an F+ student. The A+ student was easy to get along with, cooperated with teachers, worked hard, and was popular with his peers. The F+ Johnny was sullen, angry, uncooperative, disruptive, and in general was not popular with anyone.
One evening at a PTA meeting, an excited mother approached Escalante and asked, "How is my Johnny doing?" Escalante figured that the F+ Johnny's mother would not be asking such a question, so he described in glowing terms the A+ Johnny, saying he was a wonderful student, popular with his class, cooperative and a hard worker, and would undoubtedly go far in life. The next morning, Johnny—the F+ one—approached Escalante and said, "I really appreciate what you said to my mother about me, and I just want you to know that I'm going to work real hard to make what you said the truth." By the end of that grade period, he was a C- student, and by the end of the school year, he was on the honor roll.
If we treat our children as if they were "the other Johnny," chances are dramatically better that they will, in fact, improve their performance. Someone rightly said that more people have been encouraged to succeed than have been nagged to succeed. This example makes us wonder what would happen to all the "other Johnnies" of the world if someone said something really nice about them. —Zig Ziglar