If you’re a parent of young ones in school, how do you say goodbye to your kids each day when they leave for school in the morning?
Do you squeeze out one more hug as they cross the threshold into their classrooms?
Do you beg for a kiss on the cheek in the car line?
Maybe you part ways with your crew at the carpool or bus stop.
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No matter what your morning drop-off looks like, it can sound powerful and be powerful with the words you choose to share with your children.
Parents’ relationships with schools have been strained in recent years, but parents are their children’s first — and best — teachers.
Try using these five encouraging phrases to help your children carry your hopes for them all day long, whether or not you get to enter the building with them.
American values need not be relegated to the history department.
They can, in little notes, be scribbled in lunch boxes, sketched out in messages in agenda books and whispered in the ears of our youngest citizens and our country’s future.
What if we all changed “Have a great day, kids” to “E Pluribus Unum, kids”? (See no. 3!)
Try sharing these five tips with your kids, just as this mom of four has done with hers. See what happens!
Perfection is an illusion, so the “practice makes perfect” phrase we all grew up with can be thrown out with the old blackboards.
When we start learning how to write, our penmanship gets better slowly, over time, with practice.
No one really has perfect penmanship unless your name is “MacBook Pro.”
So when our kids get frustrated that they didn’t do the math problem right the first (or even the second or third time), we encourage them to keep practicing.
They won’t get it perfect — but they will get it better.
America was built and sustained by brave people who were willing to try something new and learn.
They had an idea, they explored ideas and they iterated on those ideas.
Small business owners make up the bulk of our economy. Did you know most American entrepreneurs were C students?
It’s not because they weren’t or aren’t as smart as the A student. They just learn differently and are motivated by different things. They do better building things and solving hands-on problems than they do taking pencil-and-paper tests.
When A and C students grow up, A students are typically afraid of failing and thus are more inclined to go work for someone else (most likely the C student) in a job that they are pretty confident will be there tomorrow — whereas a C student who was used to getting some questions right and some questions wrong isn’t afraid to take a risk.
“Failing” at a task or two isn’t that big of a deal. Kids learn to just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and try all over again.
If your kids learn to love learning for its own sake — if they figure out a way to persist even when they get the answers wrong and if they develop an affection for the process, rather than the outcome — you just might see more As and Bs after all.
That’s because schoolwork becomes a more relaxed journey, rather than a pressure-cooked race to a destination.
E pluribus unum is Latin for “Out of many, one.”
That’s America’s motto — and it can be your family’s motto, too.
Americans are supposed to work together as a team, but that can only happen when families at home choose to function as a team.
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(I tell my own kids, “Our family is a team. Huddle up, everyone, hands in the middle, all together now, ‘1, 2, 3, G-o-o-o-o-o Team R-i-i-i-i-i-ner!'”).
Your children might feel lonely if they’ve just started at a new school.
Your children might think no one else understands how they’re feeling.
Or, if your kids are struggling with virtual school, they might feel like you can’t relate, since you, their parents, never had to do that when you were little.
If they’re back in brick-and-mortar school, they still might think you don’t get it — “You never had to wear a mask all day long!”
Or they might be around teachers who insist on masking up for themselves.
Some of this may be technically true for your kids, but it doesn’t have to feel that way.
To help weave this into the fabric of your family, try incorporating “we” words into your speech — words like “us,” “team,” “group” and “pack.”
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Let’s scribble America’s motto on a piece of paper, tape it on the bathroom mirror and write it on our hearts — maybe even turn it into a chant or a song, just as a baseball team would.
Yes, there’s only one batter at a time — but the coach and teammates on the bench are just as much “in the game” as the player hoping to get on first base.
To help your children understand how special and unique they are, make thumbprints of them, yourself and your other family members.
No two fingerprints are the same!
The biometrics industry is evidence of that.
While your kids might be too little to appreciate the retina scan, let’s show our children that we need their unique eyes and their unique hands on this world.
Here’s another activity to try with your kids: Take out a puzzle you enjoy working on together.
Put all of the pieces together except one.
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Is the picture complete? No!
You need the missing piece to get the full picture.
Same goes with our little ones. They are all an essential piece of our American puzzle.
Invite your kids on a walk. A walk can help break up the day (plus research shows it’s good for the brain) if you school at home.
If your kids go to brick-and-mortar school, try inviting them on a walk when they return home. Once outside, take some steps (in a safe part) on the street.
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What do they see? Maybe some cracks in the sidewalk, perhaps some dirt, maybe even a piece of gum stuck to the road.
When they look at those things, how does that make them feel?
What do they see when they look up? Blue sky? Clouds? Tree branches? Houses? Birds flying?
When we hang our heads in despair, nothing good comes from that.
We see what’s dirty, what’s rough, what’s chewed up and spit out.
But if we choose to look up, our spirits are lifted, we can imagine — and we are encouraged.
“In God We Trust” is printed on our money.
Do we imprint it on our hearts?
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