Politeness Versus Compassion

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It’s possible that a person can be polite but not be compassionate. Some people can appear one way but be another entirely – which is a subject for a different day – but appropriate for this point. Furthermore, there is a sincere difference between being polite and being compassionate.

Let’s start with a basic example. Say you’re walking in a building at the same moment another person is walking out. This polite person holds the door for you and smiles warmly as you walk inside but doesn’t really care if you trip and fall only five steps past the doorframe. By the time you’ve face-planted in front of a small crowd of people, Mr. or Miss Polite is walking swiftly down the street not thinking another thing about you. Similarly, another polite person may help you to your feet after your misstep while secretly wishing they would have been five steps out the door so as to not have been obligated to help you. However, if a compassionate person sees this scenario unfold, he or she is likely to feel sad for you. You’ve just taken a tumble, and he or she hates that for you and sympathizes with you. Compassionates may even empathize too if they have been in a similar situation. While you feel embarrassed, they can literally feel that as well. Now we’ve all probably been guilty of being the door-holder or helper-upper, but there’s a difference in occasional and regular.

Dig a little deeper, and you can continue to unravel this difference. When you talk to polites, they make eye contact, nod their head, make engaging facial expressions, and cause you to believe that they care about whatever it is you are saying. Polites can recall a topic from an earlier conversation to make you think they care how your problem turned out or what has happened since.  Spoiler alert: just because they remember that fact does not mean they really care about it.

So why does this difference matter? It doesn’t necessarily. If this is a co-worker who you see at the water cooler every other day, this difference probably won’t affect you dramatically. But what if you become good friends with the water cooler person? Or what if you start dating the water cooler guy or gal? Then this gets to be a bigger issue. Politeness only goes so far in a relationship. (It goes about as far as the first person mentioned in this article did: five steps inside the door before face-planting.)

This begs the question, how can you tell a compassionate from a polite? Honestly, it’s difficult. First, it takes time to figure them out. People can use politeness as a mask (causing others to see only their polite side), so it takes some time for true colors to show. Plus, if emotions are involved, we will always want to see the good in people, but sometimes, for our own good, we need to be willing to see the whole picture – and discern the difference between being polite and actually caring.

For another thing, compassionates usually are not self-absorbed. Most of the time this is relatively easy to pick up on, even if it is after some time. We all know the people that go into lengthy detail about their private lives even when we don’t ask. No-compassion-polites are smart though. They’re polite, so they probably will not talk your ear off about themselves because, well, that wouldn’t be polite. But when you do ask them about themselves, they make their answer count. They can pinpoint the most influential task they’re a part of at the time, the highest achievement they’ve surmounted recently, or the greatest reward they’ve received lately – all while making this extravagant statement seem oh-so-very humble.

I’m from the South, and I believe in being polite. And it is possible to be both polite and compassionate. But let’s not be fooled by those that are polite but don’t really care. Why? Because you deserve to be cared about. Find those who are willing to feel and who care deeply. You deserve a heart, not just a handshake.

Why We Should Care About Compassion

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When I started my blog, I didn’t know what shape I wanted it to take. Honestly, I still don’t. However, I did know this: I believe in the power, the need, and the importance of one’s voice. It matters. And as it turns out, I have a lot to say. (For more on this, see my first post – or subscribe the right of this page! —->> )

What I have found since creating my blog is that I want my writing to have purpose. I like teaching, and I think my writing is evidence of this, too. It’s usually easiest to integrate my faith into my writing as well. The bottom line? I want to use my voice to encourage and inspire.

I also want to come alongside others to support them in following their passions and doing good work. Collaborating with others in this pursuit is so helpful! In this spirit, I’ll occasionally be posting about Compassion International after having joined their network of bloggers. My goal in doing this is to help be a voice for children who are desperately in need and raise awareness of some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

I first learned about Compassion at a young age. My youth minister and his wife led my youth group in sponsoring a child through Compassion. We’d give money to send to him, and he’d often times write back to us. There were so many valuable lessons taught to us through this process, namely the importance of giving and caring for others. That’s my first memory of this organization.

Later, after college, I learned more about Compassion from my parents’ church since they’re advocates of the organization, and my parents got involved with the organization as well. (Role models at their best right there.) I was wowed by the organization’s ability to radiate compassion in the truest sense of the word. They literally just long to suffer with, respond to, and feel for these children who are in dire need in such poverty-stricken countries.

Today, several Compassion bloggers are traveling to Kenya and staying through June 9th with a mission of sharing their hearts from that part of the world. Their ultimate goal, as is Compassion’s, is to release children from poverty and spread the Good News. You can follow along with their trip hereCompassion’s mission statement reads, “In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.” You can read more about Compassion here also.

While we may be worlds apart, we can help those in need elsewhere. I’m looking forward to writing more about this sweet, caring organization. If you have a story to share about an experience you had with Compassion or a similar organization, feel free to share it below in the comments or drop me a note on my Contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
Exodus 2:27b

The Art Prints You’ll Love + Memorial Day Weekend Deal

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It Is Well With My Soul | art print |

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Look For the Flowers | art print |

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Watercolor Palm Print | art print |

If you’ve seen Copper Paper Co.’s artwork, you know how amazing it is. If you haven’t, I’m so glad you’re here!

Copper Paper Co. will tell you that they’re all about sharing their art with light, purpose, and kindness, and let me say, those words are true! I can’t say enough good things about their beautiful work and meaningful messages depicted in their art. 

Among the creative and colorful products that Copper Paper Co. offers, you’ll find cards, art prints, and – wait for it – wrapping paper. Can you believe that?! Customized, uniquely crafted wrapping paper. Mind blown.

As y’all know, I’m a huge proponent of sending a handwritten letter. (I think that may be, in small part, why I ended up studying the eighteenth-century in grad school.) What I love about Copper Paper Co.’s cards is that the prints are super fun and colorful, and they’re great for any occasion. I don’t always need a birthday, thank you, or get well soon card; sometimes, I want to send an encouraging note or a “just because” card. Copper Paper Co.’s cards are perfect for those times!

You can search any of the products you see you pictured above right below the photo; I included the link in the description. Also, be sure to check out Copper Paper Co.’s beautiful Instagram by clicking here and, of course, their website to order some cards or prints here! Their new summer products are gorgeous. I can’t wait to get these prints up in my new house!

And, in honor of this Memorial Day weekend, every purchase will include a free 8 x 10 print! This offer ends Monday (5.29). Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Darling Round-Up

You may have noticed on my Links page that Darling Magazine has given me the opportunity to write articles for their blog. Darling is a beautiful publication filled with inspiring stories, motivational articles, creative features, and informational pieces. You can search articles under eight personas: Intellectual, Hostess, Dreamer, Confidant, Stylist, Explorer, Beautician, and Achiever.

I decided to do a round-up of my recent articles so you could easily peruse through them in one spot. Below, there’s an excerpt of each article’s introduction, and you can click any of the “Keep reading…” links to head over to Darling for the whole piece. Send me a message to let me know what you think – and what you might want to see more of! I’d love to hear from you!

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“Are We Using Our Transparency as an Excuse for Complacency?”

Today’s society is highly in favor of being transparent, of showing every side of yourself to your audience. Social media, blogs and the online world allow for authenticity and support such transparency. Of course, transparency has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks.

While connecting with each other is possible in more ways now than ever before, we must be careful about the true intent of our transparency. Transparency is not an excuse to look for acceptance in our faults, but it can be a tool we can use to better our weaknesses.

So, whether you are a beginner blogger, big-time writer or a social media guru, here are four ways to prevent transparency from leading to commiseration and complacency.

1. Know your values.

If someone asked you right this second to name your values, could you do it? Knowing your values deters you from letting your transparency about real life problems go no further than commiseration. Your values are your foundation; they are the standards to which you hold yourself. So be cautious in the values you choose to hold. Think long and hard about them. What’s most important to you? What do you know to be right? Defining your values makes becoming indifferent about them rather difficult. If you know something to be right, it’s hard to justify its opposite.

Without having a clear picture of the principles that define your life, you might find yourself stranded on the island of complacency, where the residents excuse their not-so-pleasant character traits by saying something to the effect of, “It’s just the way I am.” Is it though? Or rather, does it have to be? We are all prone to being selfish, ungrateful or careless at times, but making the choice to be the best version of our already present selves is possible, especially with strong, solid values. Keep reading…

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“How to Recognize Bad Advice”

Navigating day-to-day life requires making lots of relatively small decisions and some potentially life-changing ones as well, both of which can be somewhat daunting.

To help make these sometimes tough decisions, seeking advice is usually a smart idea. Yet not every time we ask for guidance are we going to receive sound advice. It’s definitely possible to see the red flags that come with bad advice, we just need to know how to recognize them.

Inexperience lacks wisdom.

Bad advice can take many different shapes. Unfortunately, sometimes people who believe themselves well-equipped to share advice may not be the best suited to do so. If the advice you are being given comes from someone who does not have any experience with your particular situation, then the likelihood of his or her advice being well-founded, and also valid, is not-so-great.

While your advisor may deem the advice helpful, it may not be appropriate for your particular situation. Would you seek advice about making a soufflé from someone who has never done so? Probably not. Similarly, if you are dealing with an issue at work, advice from the newest and least experienced co-worker would likely pale in comparison to the insight someone with experience might be able to provide.

Skewed perspectives make a realistic one near impossible.

On the opposite end of this totem pole is advice which is founded on much experience. Most of the time, advice coming from someone who has experience with your situation is solid because its foundation is based on tried and true knowledge; however, this isn’t always the case. First, consider someone who is a bit jaded. This person may have had a terrible experience with a situation similar to yours which makes it hard for him or her to remain unbiased. But just because his or her dating experience was bad does not mean yours will be, for example.

Similarly, someone who has experienced only favorable outcomes from a situation like yours will likely be biased in the opposite direction. Though his or her relationship has panned out, yours may not — and it may not need to. Both types of biased advice can be harmful because they may not be applicable to your circumstance. It’s important to keep in mind that every situation is unique and that your outcome could be very different. Considering both the good and bad in every situation is important. Realism is key. Click here to keep reading… (My last thought is my favorite!)

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“How to Ensure a Competitive Streak Won’t Bulldoze Other People”

We’ve probably all seen this happen before. Success in competition, if not handled properly, can lead to arrogance, to an inability to sympathize or to hard-heartedness. But overall, competition yields positive results; it helps us hone our skill set, build character and become a better version of ourselves.

Some of us are competitive by nature, but we don’t need to say this like it’s a bad thing. In fact, we can use this competitive streak to our advantage. Here are a few tips for doing so.

Evaluate your motives.

Before jumping at the chance to compete, ask yourself your reasons why. Are you vying for a position at work because you want to be acknowledged as the best? Arrogance is not the most becoming attribute. Do you plan to deceive a co-worker so that you receive recognition and he or she does not? Self-confidence isn’t gained by deception. Are you wanting to win just to watch others lose? In the long run, wishing failure on others won’t leave you feeling better about yourself.

In other words, don’t let your motives go bad. Instead, be motivated by the potential to reach personal goals, better yourself and fuel ambition.

Know your purpose.

It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the competitive moment, but it’s important that you remember what drove you to that moment to begin with. Doing so will help you avoid being swept away by competition for competition’s sake alone. It can even help if you consider your purpose in life. What are you passionate about? What are the desires of your heart? What do you want to be remembered for?

Though these are heavy questions, the answers to them will illuminate your purpose for being competitive; they’ll remind you of your heart-driven reasons for competing in the first place (pun intended). There’s certainly nothing wrong with winning, but hopefully our desire to win goes a little deeper than simply wanting to win. Keep reading…

That’s it for this first round-up! You can check out Darling’s mission here and contact me here. Let’s talk soon!

The Magnificent Month of May

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I almost didn’t write this because I know I can’t do this subject justice. No words can explain. My parents are my heroes. I should just start with that. They’re my heroes for more reasons than I’ll ever be able to tell you in one post. Or ten posts. Or a hundred. But I’m going to attempt to skim a small part of the surface here.

The month of May is my mom’s favorite month, and it’s become mine, too. First, everything is green – trees, grass, fields, bushes – and it’s beautiful outside! I’m also not sneezing like I do in April, and my allergies have calmed down a good bit. Let’s not forget that school is getting out, and as a teacher, it’s pure joy. And there’s a lot to celebrate: my dad’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and my parents’ anniversary! So in the spirit of celebration, I want to talk about my parents. (They also have no clue I’m writing this, so, surprise!)

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My Mom

This Sunday, we’ll all celebrate Mother’s Day, and I am especially thankful to be celebrating my mom. My mom is one of those women who can go without make up and look gorgeous. Ironically though, she’s never been impressed by looks or the like. She’s always been way more focused on who people are on the inside, and she has an uncanny ability to see people’s hearts. Mom is just a gentle as she is fierce, and she’ll be either at the appropriate time. Much like her own mother (my sweet granny), mom is both strong and selfless. As her daughter, I’ve watched her demonstrate both of those qualities with grace, and I’m thankful to still be learning these traits simply by watching her. She’s also a great (and patient) listener, and if you know me, you know that’s a feat.

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My Dad

My dad’s birthday was this week, so we’re celebrating him this weekend, too! I followed in my dad’s footsteps in becoming a teacher, and I hope to be half as impactful to my students as he has been to his. I’ve witnessed students who had dad in middle school and are now adults stop him in a store to tell him the difference he’s made in their lives. He’s a true leader in every sense of the word, and his love and strength are evidence of that. Dad has always been at everything for my brother and I: practices, games, recitals, lessons, programs – you name it, he made it. I’m convinced, too, that my dad can fix anything; it’s astonishing honestly. My brother/sister-in-law and I just bought houses, so you can imagine how many calls he’s getting about this and that now.

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Mom and Dad

Together, my parents make one awe-inspiring couple. I didn’t know how grateful to be for them when I was growing up. It wasn’t until probably high school that I realized not every family has a meal together every night, not every parent comes to their kids’ extra curricular activities, and not every mom and dad teach their children about Jesus. And it wasn’t until still later (after being around more adults) that I really began to understand why mom and dad instilled certain values in Ryan and I and, moreover, how all the little lessons built those values.

My parents’ anniversary is at the end of the month, and their marriage is one of steadfast love. The stories they’ve told us from when they first got married will make you double over laughing; they’re hilarious! They have always enjoyed being around each other. Growing up, I saw my parents sitting on the front porch together in the mornings, running errands together on Saturdays, and cleaning house together on the weekends. I wouldn’t say they love cleaning house, but they do love talking, laughing, and being together – even in the not-so-fun tasks. And yes, I’ve seen behind the scenes. This is real life for them.

My parents are a true team. When Ryan and I got an answer of no from one parent, we knew we would get that same answer from the other. Of course, their teamship runs much deeper than this. They do life together. As a team, they help each other grow, they hold hands through thick and thin, and they fully support each other.

Most importantly, my parents did not just teach my brother and I about God or just take us to church. We’ve watched our mom and dad walk the walk of living the Christian life wholehearted. They were parents when being true parents was difficult and uncommon. They taught us truth in love. When Ryan or I was in the wrong, we knew it. And let me tell you, I needed this. I am beyond grateful to them for their actual parenting, and I know that any good in me is credit to them.  I’m still watching them to learn from them, more often than not, from all that they do behind-the-scenes. I also don’t know how to explain how it’s possible that my family all gets along and actually likes being around each other like we do. All I know is that somehow my parents made this happen.

As I said at the beginning, this is only a glimpse of these two. I’m very much a words person, but I’ll never be able to accurately describe how thankful I am for them, how much love I have for them, or how truly awesome they are.

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What to Do When One Path Isn’t Wrong, But It Also Isn’t Right

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Hand-lettering // Hope Hickman @sincerelyhope.designs

I proctored a lot of tests this week at school. It’s interesting to watch the students as they finish.

Some finish very quickly, which, as a teacher, my initial reaction is to question how much effort they really put into that test – but that’s a whole other issue.

Then the ones who aren’t finished begin noticing the ones who are. Some of these students get concerned, and you can almost visibly see their thoughts. They’re done? I better step on it. Wonder how much longer everyone else will be? Am I behind? Then they hurry it up so they’ll be finished, too. It’s obvious they don’t want to be one of the few still working.

There are still others, though they are few, that are going to take their time no matter what. Everyone else may be finished, but if these students haven’t checked their answers, they aren’t turning the test in yet.

Finishing a test early is not necessarily bad. Maybe you finish early because you studied a lot, and the answers come quickly because you know the information so well. Being the last one to submit your test is also not bad. Perhaps you want to take your time, check your answers three times, and feel extra confident in your work.

But what about the kids that turn a test in early when they weren’t really ready to do so? They rushed through their work or they didn’t read closely, yet they turned it in anyway. While this wasn’t wrong, per say, this also wasn’t the best decision for them.

How many times do you face decisions that don’t necessarily have right or wrong answers? Chicken or beef? Blue shoes or red shoes? Stripes or polka dots? Submit the test now or check your answers? The choice you’re making may not necessarily have wrong answers in a Biblical or moral sense, but one option might not be right for you.

Inevitably, you’ll have to make some decisions like this, ones that are based on what’s right for you. Sometimes they’re difficult because there is no clear cut, right and wrong answers. Likely, too, there will come a time when you must make a decision that’s much more serious than choosing between stripes and polka dots, and these can be life-altering or life-defining moments. You may have already experienced making one of these, or perhaps a few. A decision must be made, and you must live with the choice you make. That’s not dramatic; it’s just realistic.

Just think about some of the decisions you start making right after high school. The degree you choose will dictate the job you work everyday, and things progress from there. How hard will you study in school? What company will you apply to work for? Will you keep dating this guy? Even if you aren’t as happy as you’d hoped you’d be – or as happy as everyone else thinks you are? Will you go out of your way to make new friends? How active will you be in the gym?

Here are a few things you should remember to do and be encouraged by when it’s time to make one of these decisions.

  1. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. The reason some of the not-finished-test-takers go ahead and turn theirs in is because everyone else has. But if everyone starts falling on purpose to break their leg, will you fall and break yours, too, so that you “fit in”? No. You’ll look at the leg-breakers like they’ve lost their mind. At the end of the day, each individual person in the “crowd” must live with his or her choice. In other words, no one else will live with your choices the way you will, so think twice before you follow the crowd.
  2. That said, think about how your decisions affect others. Though you must live with your choices, the people closest to you will live with them as well.
  3. Look at the big picture. Don’t focus solely on the present. Think about your future. How is this decision going to change your life when you’re forty, fifty, and sixty years old? And though a decision may be difficult to make now, is it what’s best for your future in the long run?
  4. Seek advice if you feel led, but be very careful when you do this. Bad advice is sometimes hard to see in times of wandering. Trust those closest to you who want the absolute best for your life. For more on this, click here.
  5. Most importantly, ask for God’s guidance, and spend time in prayer. Pray for discernment and spend time in God’s Word. God gives us his Holy Spirit to guide us, and we need only to seek his help.

There will always be early test-taking-finishers. Yes, it’s tough when you’re the one who hasn’t finished the test and everyone else has. It’s hardly ever easy to stand alone. But prayerfully consider what the right thing is for you.

 

The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:24

 

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From High School to Kindergarten, In That Order

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I teach ninth grade English, and I don’t care what anybody says, the high school years can be brutal. Kids can be mean, and they all care way too much about what everybody else thinks. But these years are also precious because you’re only in high school once. (Thank goodness!) In what seems like a completely different world, my sister-in-law teaches kindergarten, and let me tell you, she does an amazing job. I cannot say enough about her as a person, but the same holds true as a teacher. I’ve seen it firsthand.

Rather recently, my SIL’s school was in session on a day that mine was out for break. She offered for me to come visit her classroom and read to her students, and I was so excited! I often hear the sweetest stories about these kids, and now I was going to get to put faces with names. Being in her classroom that day was so fun, and her students made me remember some very precious aspects of life. And sometimes we just need to be reminded of the simple – but important – things in life.

Recess

I was a bit early to her school, so I signed in at the front office and joined my sis-in-law’s class outside. Her class and two others were playing on the playground in the middle of the day, and these kiddos were having an absolute blast. They were talking, running, laughing, swinging, shouting, sliding, and loving their free time. Before my arrival, these kindergartners had been learning all morning, so this was a much needed and well-deserved break. As adults, we sometimes need breaks, too – big ones and small ones. Sometimes we need to take a walk in the middle of the day. Maybe you can go outside and make a lap around your building during your lunch break. Find a way to breathe in some fresh air. Use the buddy system, too. If you can’t get outside, try visiting a co-worked in the office over for a few minutes for a breather. Sometimes, though, we need longer breaks. You may need to take a relaxing vacation, or perhaps you want to take a fun trip. Recess is fun time, and it’s ok to remind yourself to have a little of that.

Love

Kindergartners are quick to tell you they love you, and they anticipate being told that in return. Their hearts are on their sleeves, and they’re excited to show their feelings. They want to feel loved, and they deserve to be loved. This certainly shouldn’t go away as we get older. If anything, we should mature in our ability to love others. Wanting to love and be loved in return is a value our inner kindergartner should fight for.

Patience

Wow does my sister-in-law have it! As a high school teacher, there are days that I feel like I’m asked a lot of questions, but I left her classroom saying that my ninth graders do not hold a candle to these little ones. (And mind you, I’m not advocating that they should.) But my SIL would answer one question only to turn and have another. She answered with both the gentleness and the knowledge that these little ones needed and sought. I can’t imagine how many times she is asked in one day alone for help tying shoes. Yet she never huffed and puffed nor rolled her eyes. Patience is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), but because our culture is used to immediate results, patience is often not our initial reaction. It is, however, much appreciated no matter who we are. If you’re in a position that demands a lot of patience, remember that you’re modeling a fruit of the spirit. Be encouraged knowing your model will not only affect others, it may influence them to do the same.

Support

After I read to the kindergartner’s, they took turns asking me questions. They asked things like, “What’s your favorite animal?” and “Where is your favorite place to vacation?” and “What’s your favorite movie?” I noticed that after I gave answer, some of them would quietly say, “Yesssssssss!” They would squint their eyes and do a small fist pump in the air. I felt like they were cheering for me! (I promptly shared this with my ninth graders when we returned from break. Every now and then, I’ll hear a faint “Yessssss” in my classes now.) My sister-in-law explained that they were excited when they realized they had something in common with me. Like, “Yesssssss, we both love lions!” It’s amazing how lots of little cheers can motivate you! This was a great reminder that we need to give these little cheers to our friends. We need to motivate, encourage, and support each other.

Centers

The kindergartners got some free center time while I was in the room, so they had a choice to make. Do they read the books, or do they work a puzzle? Do they play in this center or that one? I didn’t notice any of them standing around conflicted over where to go. They just made a choice and went with it. Life is full of choices, and sometimes a choice is just a choice. One’s not good and the other bad. Maybe you want to eat chicken for dinner instead of steak. You have the option to do either – or both! Enjoy your free center time, and take advantage of it.

Feelings

As it turns out, kindergartners have a lot of them. While I visited, they were all happy. But I know from talking to my sister-in-law, this isn’t always the case. Much like their love, they aren’t afraid to share any of their other feelings either. If they’re sad, they cry. If they’re confused, they ask a question. If they’re happy, they giggle and smile. As we mature, we learn to manage our feelings, but you should always have the people you can express your feelings to. Your tribe. Your people. We should not let our feelings manage us, but we also should not manage our feelings so much that we bury them all together.

Groups

Since the kindergarten classroom has tables, the students sit with three other classmates. They complete their individual work at these tables, but during snack time, they get to enjoy each other’s company. Like these little ones, we, too, need time to productive, sometimes surrounded by others, especially if you’re an extrovert. In a way, you’re somewhat of a siphon because your energy comes from being around other people. We all need time to just be with people as well. So sit yourself at a table and enjoy some company!

Hugs

The day came to an end, and I said my goodbyes. Then as I turned to leave, I was stopped in my tracks. One of the kindergarteners was wrapped around my legs! She was giving me a big hug, and it was the best thing ever. I was overwhelmed by her sweet, childlike way. No matter our age, we need more hugs. I’m not a hugger by nature, but I believe hugs just generate kindness. Give some hugs because it certainly won’t hurt anything.

*The above pictures were taken in the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cataloochee Valley is now home to elk and lots of other wildlife, too. Getting there is quite a feat, so don’t head out unprepared – but the travel is well-worth the journey! You can read more about Cataloochee here.