Plant A Seed in a Child’s Mind

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I have a simple philosophy on children of 5 and 6 year old age.  I

believe these sweet little ones go into kindergarten as ‘babies’ and

come out of this period of time as, ‘school kids.’ I have seen both

Marley who attends one elementary school in kindergarten and

my grandson, Micah, who attends another elementary school in

the same level of education grow ‘in leaps and bounds.’

 

Every book their parents or I read to them, suddenly have become

‘brand new’ and they see such interesting new things in them. It is

almost like being ‘re-born.’  When it comes to understanding the

way children are ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ it really helps to watch the

changes first hand. I admit with my ‘pack of three’ being raised

with others I babysat, they were not given as much individual

attention. This becomes apparent when I am typing away the

‘bright’ quotes I can honestly listen to and apply to the six of the

grandchildren.  But, to tell you the truth, the kindergartners have

my full attention.

 

Take a week ago, when my grandson, Micah, was asking me about

my apartment. When did I move there? Why do I have my kitchen

table in the living room? Do I like having to do my laundry in the

laundry room?

 

About a month ago, my granddaughter, Marley was not totally

satisfied with looking at her own photo albums. She had a big

stack of them, since I put the 36 photo albums together each

season, for each individual grandchild. Marley has over 7 albums

to study and check out. She asked me first to look at her Daddy’s

baby photo album and then, moved on to her Aunt Felicia and

her Aunt Carrie’s. I was not asked too many questions, but I saw

her study each photo and it took her over an hour to move on to

ask me her next ‘request.’

 

Finally, she wanted to see my three “wedding dresses’ albums.”

This is how she named them. I told her I have only one photo of

the first wedding dress, so I showed her it. I told her “Aunt Carrie”

has the rest of the first wedding party photos. She is the ‘oldest’

and the only girl from this first marriage, I explained to Marley.

I really felt most of the photographs of her relatives would ‘mean

more to her’ than her brother, Marley’s Daddy.

 

She studied the three wedding dresses intently. She finally asked me

why I married each of my three husbands. I tried to make a ‘joke,’

telling her my patent answer to adults who ask me this question,

“This was my way of being a ‘serial monogamist.'”

For some reason, Marley looked like she really understood this

to be a cynical or sarcastic comment and used her scolding voice

to say,

“Nana, I am asking you a serious question: Why did you get married

more than once?”

 

My answer was a combination of “love” and “hope.” I gave her a

big hug for asking and told her,

“Your Daddy and Mommy will  be like my own parents, they found

the right match and will put effort into keeping their family together

and happy.”

 

When it comes to teaching young children about the variations of

life,  sometimes their lessons may come from viewing children and

families at the beach, grocery store or church. Up until they go to

school, they may think their family unit is just fine. My youngest

daughter asked her Dad years ago to come to special events, but

she found that I was her ‘constant’ and her ‘home.’

 

A valuable book with lessons, which could be a ‘tool’ to open a

discussion about class levels and economic differences has been

recently published.  It is called, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

The author of this delightful book is Matt de la Pena. The

illustrations are created by Christian Robinson.

 

You may already know the lessons held within this book, but it

has a rich diversity of subjects with a little boy who questions

what is around him. There is an element of ‘Life doesn’t seem to

be fair’ to him, in his questions.

 

The subject of why children don’t have as many choices of clothing,

backpacks, coats, shoes and those things are often brought up after

some time spent in kindergarten has passed. This book would help

to give a picture to children of a whole different lifestyle, while it

also is done lovingly and beautifully.

 

There are places which address the subject of what children may

like to have new clothes and other things for their first day of school.

Some ‘Big Box Stores’ have bins where you may purchase glue sticks

for your own child or grandchild, along with tossing some into the

bin. There are places where you can go to get new coats, as well as

other nice new things, ‘vouchers’ for new shoes and backpacks. They

may be held at your county fairgrounds or they could be passed out

at a local charity location. It is nice to hope that each child can start

the school year, with a ‘level playing field,’ so those students who

have less in their household income can still feel ‘pride’ in their

back to school clothes and other accessories.

 

The new book, “Last Stop on Market Street” started a great

discussion with my grandies. They were interested in knowing if

I knew such and such, did this child have the same situation as

the little boy in the book? I think this book would be almost better

to present before they go off to school. It would help for those who

have more than others, to be careful not to judge nor ask too many

questions.

 

I would label this book a ‘break through’ book, one which is rare to

find with a powerful, but gently expressed, understated message.

 

As a boy is leaving church with his grandmother, he sighs in relief,

he feels like going outside is ‘freedom.’ He has probably wriggled

and twitched, feeling confined in the church.  The boy named C.J.

holds his grandmother’s hand while she holds an umbrella over

the top of their heads.

 

The two head off to a bus stop. There is mention of this being

their weekly procedure or routine. Not everyone has a car, a

house or food every day. There is a subtle way of letting the

reader and listener of the story find this out.

 

As he looks out a window of the bus, C.J. sees a friend in a car

with his father.  After the car zips on by the bus, C.J. wonders

aloud,

“Nana, how come we don’t get a car?”

 

Later, he notes a young man listening to a digital music player

and he displays the classical example of  kid’s  ‘I want. . .’ or

wishing for something obviously out of the grandmother’s

budget.

 

Each time his Nana responds with positive words. She makes the

bus ‘come alive’ for C.J. as if it were a ‘dragon.’ She reminds him

of the bus driver’s ‘magic’ trick he plays when they get on the bus.

She mentions that the young man playing a guitar on the bus,

is entertainment enough. A blind man teaches C.J. a lesson on

senses. There are wonderful elements in this book which you

will become enchanted with, too.

 

The colorful illustrations display a myriad of views of the

community on the outside of the bus, as they pass different

sights.

 

The lesson of life being full of excitement without any technical

devices or modern conveniences is not told directly but indirectly

shown through the unfolding tale.

 

As they get off the bus, C.J. wonders why they always have to go

on Sundays to the soup kitchen for their meal. This will help

open a discussion with children or grandchildren.  In this lovely

book, it reminds us that in the “Land of Plenty”  or America, we

may not always have neighbors, friends or people living one

short block over, with as much as we have. There is a sense of

global understanding, in the diversity of characters and culture

in this book.

 

A children’s book reviewer, Julie Danielson, expressed this:

“It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in

ways that are subtle and seamless, but in “Last Stop on Market

Street,” the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother

does just that.”

 

There is a new Valentine’s Day book to recommend. It is one of the

bunny books by author Jutta Langreuter and illustrated by Stephanie

Dahle.

“There’s No One I Love Like You.”

This German author has a series of “Little Bear” books and there

are a few in her native language, too.  One which looks interesting

and magical in its illustrations with German expressions  is called,

“Frida and die Kleine Waldhexe.”

 

If you have a favorite book for children and wish to include it,

please feel free to tell us about the book and its message, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 responses »

    • You are so wonderful to say this, Kim! Less is more, when it comes to teaching children. Thanks for thinking this was a great post, my dear! Hope all is well with you, your son, daughter in law, hubby and twin grandbabies! I am so excited, need to get over there to see what is going on in ‘your neck of the woods.’

      • So very welcome, Robin. My baby grand-son is sick in the hospital right now, but will be okay. Little twins are sick too, which break my heart, but I’m trying not to think about it. Other things instead. Love to you.

      • Oh, sorry about the little grandson’s being sick, I have been up at Mom’s and decided to not do any blogging… miss out on my friends’ happenings and now, will say a prayer for him… Take care and God bless the little one’s! They are ones who are well loved and deserve the best of us.

  1. Lovely post. The children are so priceless at that age. My granddaughter is struggling through High School. She’s a brilliant young woman but they sure have knocked the stuffing out of her.
    Leslie

    • Dear Leslie and your granddaughter, take heart. I hope she finds her place in the school. My oldest daughter did the sports we expected her to get involved in, until she mentioned Photography Club. There she enjoyed helping with the yearbook and taking artistic photos to engage her creativity. She also liked doing makeup and props with the theater group. It took her until Junior year to ‘find her way.’ My son and youngest daughter didn’t get ‘lost’ and I hope the brilliant young woman will not have any more stuffing ‘knocked out of her!’ hugs and best wishes sent your way….

      • Thank you for the good thoughts and wishes. One can never have enough. We were looking at a private school today and that just may be the way we will have to go.
        Leslie

      • Leslie, the best thing is to follow through, no matter how you decide to proceed. I believe she will be well loved and appreciated. Private schools definitely care and spend a lot of time with the smaller class sizes within their buildings. Continued prayers and wishes for her…

    • I am so glad you may find this book and check it out, Beth… it is good for all children to think of how other children’s lives are led, along with maybe feeling they are all in the same ‘boat,’ rowing along together…. Thanks for the natural teacher comment, it is part of passing around some of the ‘good stuff’ we each discover, Beth!

    • I have been away for awhile, took my Mom and her dog to the vet’s, ate out for lunch, shopped two days in a row… I just enjoyed being in the moment, Andro. So, catching back up with my friends. Thanks for being a good one to me. Hope you enjoyed the past week and this one will be wonderful leading into Valentine’s Day next Saturday! Smiles and hugs.

    • Thank you for taking the time to tell me this wonderful personal message, Glorialana! You are such a blessing to so many, you have many uplifting words on your posts. I am smiling at the image of wisdom being felt in your veins. This is so sweet. Hugs and smiles back at you, my friend!

  2. I love the grown-up way your grandchildren have of conversing with you and asking questions. You obviously encourage that and enjoy the results of your loving exchanges. It is also fantastic that you have created picture albums. No doubt the children will enjoy them for years to come.

    I don’t have many books to recommend for early readers as my grandson likes stories geared more to young adult fiction. I have lots of recommendations for boys and girls when they are ready for something written for a little older age group. – Mike

    • I used to like Jack London’s books, which my brothers treasured. The chapter books for me, while in 3rd and 4th grade, were written by Beverly Cleary. I also enjoyed reading from the biographies and autobiographies on the young adult shelves of the library. I am so glad your grandsons have advanced reading and I am sure you continue to encourage this wonderful attribute, Mike.

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