18 June 2013

Things I Learned in Preschool

I never actually went to pre-school when I was a tyke, but I ended up working in one to help me pay through college. It was definitely a fun experience, but quite frankly, a lot more work than I'd thought it would be.

Me when I was just a little munchkin!
Imagine being responsible for the psychological and physical well being of sixteen little terrorists children. I hope you like getting thrown up on and bitten - sometimes both in the same day!

I also hope you like children bringing you wild flowers, because they think you're "just as pretty as a daisy," and tearful "I love you's" when your students move on to kindergarten.

There's so much we can learn from watching those little munchkins. Here are a few of my favorite lessons that they taught me.

1. Love knows no age limit.

The romance and drama starts young. I think you would be shocked by the amount of crying little girls I had to console because the class heart-breaker, Dylan, said he didn't love them anymore. Thinking boys are icky? Apparently, that doesn't settle in until you turn six or seven.

2.  Little boys are softies too.

I think most little boys want to marry their Mom or their teacher. It's completely innocent and so sweet. One of students, we'll call him Oliver, was particularly persistent. I explained to him that I was 19 and just too old! He reassured that one day he would be 19 too, and that things would work themselves out. I laughed, shook my head knowingly, and replied that when he was 19, I would be 43 and still much older than him.

He took my face between his hands and pulled it down to his level. "Miss Trish," he began. "I will love you even when you have gray hairs!" That my friends is true love.

3. You shouldn't call people bad, mean, or stupid.

We would never let a child call another child one of these names. Partially because this prevented bullying and prevented children from labeling themselves as "bad eggs" early on, but also because it was the truth.

Sometimes, I had children in my class who made bad choices, but I never had a bad student. They normally just needed a little extra help. Everyone has the potential to be a good person.

4. Everyone is still learning

That kid who takes toys without asking from other children is still learning how to share. That person who cut you off this morning is still learning how to be a polite driver. The girl at work who gossips about everybody is still learning to be a good friend, and your significant other is still learning how to be a good partner.  As for that idiot you just broke up?  He's still learning how to respect women and not be a complete tool.

This principle holds true for everyone you meet. Labeling people as bad, stupid, or wrong, ultimately doesn't help anyone. The other person is still learning how things work, just like you. Some people are slow learners, and some are really stubborn. Others have had very bad teachers. But everyone is important and nobody's a lost cause.

5. Use your words.

People are not mind readers - Not your partner, not your best friend, not even your mom (though sometimes my mom makes me wonder...) You're going to have to explain how you feel and why you feel that way if you want to be understood.

6. Clean up after yourself.

7. Wash your hands with soap after you go to the bathroom.

I'm always surprised when I use a public restroom at the number women who just walk right out of their stall and out the door. That's disgusting.

8. It's okay to cry.

Sometimes you're sad. Sometimes you're angry. Sometimes your best friend threw sand in your eyes. You're a big girl, but you still have every right to cry about it.

9. The way you say Hello really sets the tone.

 If little Ralph is having a rough morning, but I run right over, give him a big hug, and tell him how happy I am that he came today, the rest of the day is more likely to go smoothly.

Same holds true for adults. If you greet them like they're important, and you're clearly happy to see them, the time that you spend with them will go much more smoothly.

10. If you skip snack time, people get grumpy.

I just want my goldfish crackers and string cheese...


Hope your all having a wonderful Tuesday friends!
Please be extra nice to all the munchkins in your life today! :)

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