This year I have had the privilege of serving as the facilitator for the monthly sessions of 4C’s leadership seminar for administrators. Developing Early Childhood Leaders (DECL) is designed to help administrators further develop leadership and advocacy skills in the field of early childhood education. This month we watched a video titled “Celebrating What’s Right With the World.” Dewitt Jones, a photographer for National Geographic, narrates the video while we see his striking images from all over the world. He shares experiences and life lessons learned as his job has taken him all over the world.
As I viewed his masterpieces and listened to his pearls of wisdom, one stuck with me and resonated. Dewitt said to celebrate what’s right with the situation instead of griping about what’s wrong. This makes us more receptive to change and gives us the energy to change.
Classroom teachers are dealt a hand each morning that they have very little control over: Maddie’s mom is angry that her shirt was dirty yesterday, Kerry is acting out in class because her parents are divorcing. Bryce’s dad always drops him off at 6:30 am and he is tired all day in class. At first glance it may be difficult to see what you could possibly celebrate in challenging situations like these, but you have to look closely at each situation and dig deep. Maddie’s mom cares about her daughter’s appearance and is sharing her feelings with you because she feels safe enough to do so. Kerry feels comfortable enough to express her feelings in your classroom because she knows you care about her. Bryce’s dad is a hard worker and values the care you offer each day when he has to be at work early. When you begin to realize what a family’s values are, you will begin to understand the family’s culture. Understanding the views of our families is essential to providing individualized instruction. We will also have a better line of communication that will make future problems easier to solve.