Newsletter/Video Archive: Our Own Needs
Considering all that goes on during a day in a roomful of children, it’s impossible to notice everything…or to always be there before an incident erupts…or even when it erupts! Fred often reminded us there are no perfect teachers, parents, or children – just human ones.
Fred encouraged us to be “mindful.” He helped us slow down, be present in the moment and savor the experience.
“Refueling” – that's such an appropriate word for early childhood professionals. Whenever I’m in a childcare center or in a family childcare home, I’m always amazed at how much energy your work takes – not just physical energy, but emotional energy as well.
Fred once wrote, “I know how emotionally draining it can be when we’re giving quality child care…putting energy into trying to understand each child, while at the same time distancing ourselves so we don’t lose sight of what each child needs.”
With all the emphasis on food at Thanksgiving, I thought you’d appreciate seeing one of our favorite moments when Fred talked about nourishment. He began with food, but then spoke about a different kinds of nourishment – the kind that we all need.
They say laughter is contagious. I suppose that’s because laughter is a social experience and helps us bond together, whether we’re children or adults. There’s something about having fun and laughing together that warms a place and makes us feel “at home.”
All through the Neighborhood series Fred showed us what it means to be an appreciator, especially of people and for the work they do -- from the factory workers and the shoe store salesman to children’s author/illustrator Eric Carle and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
We may never know how children -- or their families -- use our words and support. And it may even seem as if they’re not listening – or not hearing us. But we need to trust that when we offer “good stuff,” they’ll hear our voice long after they’ve moved on.
I remember Fred saying that there are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children. Let’s add, “and there are no perfect early childhood professionals.” But, as I’ve learned from Fred, everything doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be effective.
Fred always reminded us that anger is a natural and normal human emotion – for us adults, too! In fact, it’s often a reaction to feeling powerless. I certainly can understand how children can make a grown adult feel powerless.