"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What I Learned from Little People - Part Three

Morgan and Matt
in Charleston
               Welcome back! Part One found me being a substitute Grandma for two boys whose Grandma had passed away. In Part Two, I was able to spend the day with my granddaughter Emma and her class at Disney on Ice. The final installment in my adventures with little people week takes me to Charleston, SC, where I visited with my grandchildren, Morgan and Matthew, from Tuesday through Saturday.
Love You Forever
by Robert Munsch
               Matthew asked his Kindergarten teacher if I could come to his class and read a book to them. I chose one of Matthew’s favorite books, Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. I‘ve been reading this book to children for at least 19 years, improvising by singing the words of the lullaby in the story to a tune I created.

               Before reading time, I was allowed to help in the literary center. At this center the children pulled a sight word out of a plastic popcorn container, said the word, and then wrote it on their paper three times; once with pencil, once with crayon and once with a marker. We had a boy named Jack at our table acting as the teacher. He did an excellent job of explaining the project, keeping the others on track, and checking on their progress all while doing his own work. When time was up, everyone scurried to clean up the table and put the supplies back on the tray where they belonged.

Sight Word List
               At reading time, I got to sit in the place of honor, a comfy rocking chair just made for storytelling. Matthew sat in the assistant’s chair next to me. beaming with pride. Having me there gave him the right to select the children who would ask questions or make comments at the end of the story. I read the story in my best dramatic voice and sang the lullaby portions as though I was holding my own tiny baby. The first comment came from Sawyer, “I like the story and the illustrations and your singing. I think you should be part of the music at our school.”  The other five comments were all alike, “I liked the whole book.”
               Lunch was next on the agenda and then Recess.  On the way to the playground the teacher stopped them at a picnic table for a conference. The day before, Mrs. Raynor’s lunch had been interrupted thirty times by tattletales. She had used up most of the playtime talking to them about problem-solving techniques. She gave them some great advice that many adults could benefit from. Today she was reinforcing the lesson from yesterday. It only took a few minutes to find out that all but one problem during lunch had been solved using the tools she had given them the day before.
               In the course of the week with my little people, I have attended preschool, primary school and elementary school and I’ve gotten quite an education. Here’s part of what I learned:
1)      Kids are forced to deal with heart-breaking family issues earlier and earlier in life. My niece came home from her first day of Kindergarten crying and asking, “Where’s my other Mommy and Daddy?” On investigation my brother found out that most of the other kids in her class came from blended families and had two sets of parents. Ashley thought she had another set of parents who were hiding from her. Sounds funny, but it represents a serious breakdown of our society and in what God ordained for marriage and family.
2)      When children are showered with praise and encouragement as they reach their goals, they will reciprocate it naturally to others. Emma was so excited that I had accomplished the goal of getting her to school, she couldn’t hold in the joy she felt for me. You can be an encourager to a child today whether you know them or not. Will you join me in giving praise to a child when you see them doing good things? All it takes is open eyes and a few seconds of your time but it will make a long-range difference to that child.
3)      Given age-appropriate tools, children can solve problems without the intervention of an adult. I admire Mrs. Raynor for gifting these children with a skill that will last a lifetime. One advantage these kids have is that everyone in their class is operating with the same skill set. That won’t always be the case in life, but with the knowledge they have learned and applied so young, they will be flexible enough to handle the variations.
Thanks for joining me on my journey with some of my favorite little people. I hope you’ve learned something along the way that will help you make life better for the little ones in your life.
Until we meet again, be joy-filled-


  1. Cathy, this post was the frosting on the cake. It is so poignant to hear that the new normal is two sets of parents, and those with only one feel left out! I also love Bob Munsch's book. I read it over and over again to my kids. My daughter made me a Super Mom CD and included a recording of it. Still makes me teary.

    1. The first time I ever heard anyone recommend this book, it was read to a ldaies group by a woman who had read it at her son's bedside right before he died. I was sobbing by the time she finished. I purchased a copy soon after and began reading it to my first granddaught. She's 21 now and recently bought a copy to read to her 18 month old baby. When I read it to Matthew's class, I had both his teachers teary. I've had lots of practice reading it! Blessings on you, dear ONe!

  2. Love the ending! I have always found children fascinating to watch and interesting to listen too. They can make you laugh or cry in a moment's notice,

  3. Thanks, Mary Jane! I agree with you - they are fascinating little creatures.

  4. I love "our book" and the special memories I have of us reading it when I stayed the night with you when I was younger. I love you Grandma!!

    1. I love you too Caitie! I wouldn't trade our times together for all the gold in the world.