Sunday, January 27, 2013

101 things to do...#17 be flexible

Recently J arrived at school for his much-anticipated field trip to a local nature center. It's all the kids have been talking about for a couple of weeks. They were excited for the hike, some time with kick sleds, and a special snack in the nature center. Here in Minnesota,January is typically pretty dry and cold. But recently, the temperature was up to 38 degrees in the early morning, with a cold, steady drizzle coming from the gray sky. I walked J in to school and was greeted by several smiling, excited kindergartners. The adults I bumped into, however, were less than enthusiastic. "Today's the big field trip, eh? Oh, too bad!" said one teacher to J as we walked into school. "What a bummer to have this kind of weather on the field trip day!" cried one of the parent chaperones, tightening the belt on her winter coat. "I just can't believe this weather! How awful! And on the day when we have to be outside all morning! Awww." --this from his teacher. I looked around at the children's faces. I could almost hear the excitement being sucked from the room, gone into a black hole somewhere in the ether. These children had been anticipating the trip to the nature center for weeks. I felt sad knowing that all the adults involved in the field trip were visibly disappointed and not censoring their thoughts at all in consideration of the children. People, please. You can't count on the weather being perfect. And when you complain about the weather being too hot/too cold/too global warmingish/too rainy/not sunny/ ruins the mood for everyone, especially young children. They pick up and reflect the moods of the adults around them (the adults they are learning from, I might add!) - they start to feel crummy too. Sure, we'd all like 70 degrees and sunny. But this is Minnesota. It's January. Consider the attitude you present when it comes to weather, or other circumstances outside you can't control. Whether it's weather, bugs, or any conditions outside your control, If you complain and whine, you can bet the children will too. If you demonstrate flexibility, an ability to tolerate variations in circumstances, or show that you can handle disappointment, it will go a long way toward helping the children around you learn to do the same.

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