Guiding our children to shine their inner LIGHT by being our absolute best!

Posts tagged ‘kids’

The Oreo Cookie Theory

oreo

The end of the school year is quickly approaching and many believe that the kids are ‘acting up’ because they are done with school and ready for summer vacation. I have a different perspective on this…

As soon as June 1st hits (sometimes earlier) the kids suddenly appear to have forgotten the rules and have no motivation to work. They also seem to be fighting with one another more than ever and disputing the tiniest issues that didn’t seem to matter just a few weeks ago.

Ten years ago I saw this happening in my classroom to my sweet, loving, well trained 2nd graders and I was baffled because this group of kids was truly like a family. They were loving to one another and worked well cooperatively so when this ‘change’ occurred–literally overnight–I had no idea what was happening.

I reinstated the rules, tried to make learning as fun as I possibly could and focused on projects that would hold their attention, yet they were still constantly arguing with one another. Then The Oreo Cookie Theory came to be…

The kids just came in from recess and there were several requests for a ‘Community Meeting‘.

*A Community Meeting is something that we hold in my classroom when we have a problem or concern that we need to solve as a group.

We went to the ‘Meeting Place Rug’ and sat in a circle. They were all familiar with the rules; if you didn’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears you were not to judge, but instead listen mindfully. One child raised their hand to use an I Statement regarding their frustration. Then another and yet another. I sat back and wondered what was going on with these kids. They were literally like a family. We were all so close and we always worked out our differences together but lately it was a nightmare after every recess.

As I listened to the kids venting their feelings I myself was feeling helpless because I wanted them to enjoy our last few weeks together instead of nitpicking at one another. I interrupted the conversation and explained that perhaps we were all just ready for a break because it was a long year and we were excited for the summer. The kids kind of shook their heads and then there was an uncomfortable silence in the room.

Oh I got it then. The kids heard me say the words, “Let’s enjoy our last few weeks together instead of fighting” and the flood gates opened.

Several of the kids had tears in their eyes, as did I, as we all realized we were bracing ourselves for our end. Yes, we were excited about Summer, but we were also sad to leave one another.

At the time I worked in a school that was a primary center. We hosted grades K-2 and then the kids went to two separate schools across town from one another for grades 3-5 depending on where they lived.

The kids began to speak about their sadness of leaving and how scary it was that things were going to change. I did my best to reassure them that they would love 3rd grade and would all see each other again in 6th grade, but then one child raised her hand and the ‘Oreo Cookie Theory’ was born.

She looked right at me with tears in her eyes and spoke with a soft and broken voice. She said, “Well, Ms. Scalzo (that was my name back then) it’s sad that we are leaving and going to 3rd grade but you don’t really know why.” Of course I inquired and she responded, “It’s kind of like we are an Oreo Cookie. We are each the chocolate cookie ends. One cookie goes one way and the other cookie goes the other way.” I literally began to hold my breath to hold back the tears and then she said, “The worst part is that you are the fluffy stuff in the middle and we’re never gonna see you again.”

At that point we were all crying and then, of course, hugging.

I am proud to say that those 2nd graders are graduating from High School this year and I can’t wait to attend their graduation. I have thought of them often as the years have past and I especially think of them every June when my kids show the same signs of separation anxiety.

If you are a teacher or a parent and you’ve noticed a change in your child in the past few weeks that may be a bit frustrating please consider this ‘Oreo Theory’ and give them a break.

Instead of getting angry or annoyed with their behavior, give them lots of extra love because now you know that although they are excited about a new beginning and sunshine, they are also sad about an ending.

Be gentle. Be understanding. Be loving.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

 

Don’t Let One Bad Apple Spoil the Bunch…Cook That Apple Pie!

Do we not strive as parents to be our absolute best for our children?  Do we consistently look out for our child’s best interest and commonly ask questions to be sure our kids are headed ‘down the right road?’  Of course, we do.  However, what we fail to sometimes realize, is that our kids are watching, listening, and learning from us 24:7 (that’s right…even when we’re sleeping).

I can’t possibly count the number of times that I have heard a phrase come out of my child’s mouth and knew immediately that he picked it up from me (unfortunately, some of those phrases were ‘potty words’ that he shared at just the right moment, in front of my mother in law!).

They spit back the words that we say, the actions that we take, and of course the paths that we show them to roam.

Today, I had a terrific opportunity to learn a lesson, and an even greater opportunity to teach a lesson…

I was informed that there was a person out there spreading toxic waste about me (we all have this happen at some point, no matter how kind, generous or loving we are).  My initial reaction was anger.  I wanted to take out an ad in the local newspaper to debunk this person’s accusations and call every person I knew to ‘vent.’  However, for some reason, I held back, knowing that those actions would simply be me, re-acting to the situation, instead of responding.  I had plenty of ‘good things’ going on in my day, including my Kidspeak Radio Show in the evening, spending quality time with my son, and preparing for another week of empowering kids in an upcoming camp.  Yet I was choosing to focus on this one negative event.

Before I allowed this to consume me, I smartened up and took 5.  I retreated to a quiet room in my home and sat in silence asking, “What is it that I need to know here?”  Within moments, I knew that there was a great lesson here and I just needed to let go of the toxic feelings.  I wanted to focus on all of the good that was going on in my life, but I kept being drawn into the toxic pit! As much as I tried to rationalize the situation, I wanted to defend myself, and then it hit me…

This was an opportunity for me to use my own formula and theory that I teach others, for myself (you know, walk the talk).  I teach my clients 3 R’s to problem solve and eliminate toxic thinking;

1)      Recognize– become AWARE of what is really going on in the moment by releasing blame.

2)      Realize– ALTERNATIVES to the current problem/situation.

3)      Respond– instead of re-acting, by taking positive ACTION.

In that moment (the moment that I was faced with walking my talk), I recognized what was really going on by bringing my awareness to the present moment. Instead of playing the past in my head repeatedly, or looking too far ahead in the future with fear, I simply saw the situation for what it was, a very small part of my day!  I then realized that I could allow myself to ruin the rest of my day with my son and possibly destroy my radio show for the evening, OR, I could release the feelings of anger and just focus on the good.

Guess what?  I chose to respond instead of re-act and I allowed this event to be just a small occurrence in my day.  I did not pick up the phone to vent to friends (well, maybe one), or call the local news.  Instead, I put my energy into riding bikes with my son and then providing an amazing radio show!

The lesson became very clear when I talked with my son later in the evening and he said something quite profound during an interview we were preparing for a few weeks out (because he couldn’t understand why Mommy wasn’t interviewing HIM for Kidspeak Radio-LOL).  I asked my son what he wanted other children to know, and he responded,

Love yourself.  You have to just love yourself, even when you feel mad or sad, because that’s what’s in your heart.”

Hmmmm, I felt a little bit ‘checked,’ but more importantly, blessed.  I certainly was not loving myself when I was letting someone else’s delusional opinion of me ruin part of my day!  I’m sure glad I was able to use the 3 R’s to my benefit, and I’m most thankful for my little avatar who reminded me that,

You can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch!’

If I allowed this toxic information to ruin my time with my son and my radio show, I would have been giving my power away and not truly loving myself.  I also would not be setting a very good example for my son, because I would be teaching him that what matters most, is what others say about you.  That would be quite hypocritical since I teach,

What matters most is how you see yourself!”

The BIG lesson here for me is that today, I remembered, that children learn from us 24:7, and oh by the way, they are really damn good teachers too!

“Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.” In other words, one negative event, word or happening doesn’t have to stop you from cooking an amazing apple pie!

 

Lots of Love,

Vicki

PS…If you want to HEAR that radio show, click on the Kidspeak Radio Show link here, or above!

The Power of Speaking Our Truth

This week, my first grade students presented their first radio show on blogtalkradio titled, “KidSpeak.”

I was so incredibly proud of each and every one of them because at the ripe ‘ol age of 6 and 7, they are speaking their truth!

I have spent quite a bit of time teaching my students the importance of trusting their intuition and using their voice to tell others how they feel, but I really didn’t realize just how much they absorbed from this teaching until we produced the radio show…

I watched in awe as my little first graders ripped off ‘I Statements‘ like they were a well versed second language.  Some students talked about feeling sad, while others talked about feeling proud of themselves.  The most inspiring event within our radio show happened towards the end of the interview.

I have a young girl in my class who is very quiet and reserved.  She’s also extremely sensitive and hardly ever tells others how she is feeling without a strong nudge.  During the radio show, she raised her hand to share her own ‘I Statement‘.  She was quite eloquent when she told another student in our class that she felt invisible to him.  The boy who she was speaking to is having difficulty with socialization, yet he responded with love, and I have noticed in the past few days that their friendship has flourished and bloomed!  Words cannot express how I felt at this very moment.  It was a beautiful and divine moment because I was able to see that my teaching of this very important topic had made a positive impact on my students.  That is every teacher’s dream!

I encourage you to listen to the show.  It will make you laugh, and possibly cry.  It’s powerful to remind children that they have a voice inside of them and it’s important to use that voice to speak their truth in this world.

If you’ve never heard of an ‘I Statement,’ you are in for quite a treat.  I’m not quite sure where it originated, but I do know it is powerful because I have used it in my personal life, my coaching clients, and my students for many years.

I firmly believe that we need to teach children at a young age how to talk about their feelings without harming others.  We are so quick to judge when children are tattling or battling one another, yet we often don’t take the time to give them a tool to use in order to get their feelings out.  Many times, parents, teachers, and caregivers, rush to solve the problem for the child instead of taking the time to give them a tool because, let’s face it, we’re busy too, and we look to put the fire out as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, by putting out that fire for them, we are missing the big picture and not giving them the opportunity to learn how to speak their own truth.

The next time this situation presents itself, I implore you to take a deep breath and give your child, or the children you work with, this simple, yet powerful tool…

The ‘I Statement

I feel ________________(tell what you are feeling)

When ________________(tell what happened to make you feel this way)

Because_______________(tell why you feel this way)

What I Really Need_________________(tell what you need at that moment)

(For a worksheet on this, please go to http://www.thelightinsideofme.com/ and click on Parent Teacher Resources)

Oh, by the way, you’re never too old to use an ‘I Statement.’

With Love & Gratitude,

Vicki

www.vickisavini.com

Where’s the Respect?

Hmmmm, so lately, I’ve been hearing a great deal about how frustrated parents, teachers, and society is, in general, about the lack of respect that children show nowadays.  In truth, I have even muttered these words in the past few weeks myself…

It does appear as though many of today’s children feel a bit entitled and don’t necessarily find it important to listen to the adults who are trying to help them.  I’ve been told throughout my life that I have a gift, and that gift is, that I can see the world through the eyes of children.  Well, with that being said, I figured this might just be important enough to dive into…

I’ve heard tons of people say this line of late, “When I was a kid…” 

Now, go ahead and fill in the blanks (I’d be very interested to hear your response in the comment section).

Here’s some of what I heard…

“When I was a kid, I never would have talked to teachers the way these kids talk to their teachers.  My parents would have had my head!”

“When I was a kid, if I talked back to my mom like that, she would have slapped my face!”

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have all of the things my kids have.  I didn’t have everything I wanted.  I think these kids are just plain spoiled!”

Hmmmm, and now my wheels begin to turn.  When I was a kid, I would never have talked back to my parents, or any adults for that matter.  I would never ignore my teacher when they were speaking to me, or laugh when I was being reprimanded for a choice in my behavior.  I wouldn’t have done it because I knew I would disappoint my parents.  I wasn’t necessarily afraid of them spanking me, or slapping my face, but I didn’t want to disappoint them.  As I got older, it wasn’t my parents who I didn’t want to disappoint, it was God.  Now that I realize that God is within me, I make good choices because they feel right…they feel aligned with Source…they feel good inside.

I grew up in a different world, and it’s true that a lot has changed.  Unfortunately, that includes manners and respect in general.  Honestly, as frustrating as this lack of respect is, we can’t really get angry with our kids if we are not taking the time to teach them, to connect with them, and to guide them.

As difficult as it is to look at our current world and realize that manners are not necessarily the norm, and respect, is not the guiding principle of behavior, we must realize that we are the only ones who can truly make a difference.

Let’s face it, we grew up with parents who got the belt if they were not well behaved.  When our parents became parents,  they in turn, would often use corporal punishment, or at least threaten it.  My generation didn’t want to raise their children in fear.  Instead, they wanted to give their children a voice and all that they never had.  We’ve certainly done a terrific job with that, but we unfortunately forgot one important element…we forgot to teach them to care.

As a teacher of young children, and a mother of a lively and respectful six year old, I feel that my most important job is to teach my kids two concrete pillars in order to build a strong foundation for their lives.

The first is independence, and the second is interdependence.   Children must first learn to depend on themselves and go within, to answer questions in life.  My children’s book, “The Light Inside of Me,” helps guide children to make choices based on how it feels when they make a choice.  Once children start to understand that they can make good decisions that feel right on their own, then we need to teach them to care.  The only way to do this, is to teach interdependence…yeah, that’s right, we are all one…and what we do to others, we ultimately do to ourselves…the good ol’ Golden Rule!

Perhaps we’ve gone a bit too far, and we’ve done way too much for our children, not giving them the chance to really build a strong independence and belief in themselves.  Maybe we’ve gotten to a ‘what’s in it for me‘ type of society, but it’s certainly not too late to make changes that would help our children and our society.

So…do you want the children in your life to show respect while still having a voice?

If so, here’s a 3 step formula to follow:

1) Teach them to care

2) Connect them to something bigger than themselves.  Show them that ultimately, we are all ONE.

3) Guide them to make good choices by how those choices feel in their hearts. (check out my children’s book at www.thelightinsideofme.com or www.vickisavini.com

Lots of Love,

Vicki

If you enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy www.theinfinityfoundation.wordpress.com