On Tuesday nights, a group of teachers and parents came together to learn and share best practices for helping children. It was an insightful, eye-opening, and overall moving experience. As we learned the seven skills that help children and adults lead successful, happy lives, we also shared our past experiences, emotional reactions, and hopes for the future. As a high school teacher and a single dad of an eight-year-old, I found it enlightening to hear from teachers of elementary school age children and parents of kids of all ages. What we discovered is that every generation can benefit from paying specific attention to the development of these skills and how to implement them into our lives. Additionally, we concluded that every age range of children has its own set of challenges and wonderful aspects.
I think my favorite part of the overall experience was how all the participants shared their connections to each module. For example, a single mom of high school age children discussed how, after week one, during a heated discussion about school with her son, she realized she needed to apply focus and self-control. She explained in specific detail how this helped achieve the goal of calming everyone down and really communicate about the issue at hand. A mom of three, who is also an elementary school teacher, shared how she incorporated the skill of scaffolding, both in her classroom and at home with her children. Some particularly moving stories came from participants who had gone through serious difficulties such as divorce or unplanned career changes. It was wonderful to see the group show empathy, brainstorm together, and apply the strategies covered during the modules of perspective and communication. Sharing some of my experiences in the high school classroom and over the years of raising my son helped to foster some conversation, but also helped me bond with many of our participants. I was quite touched by their ideas, advice, and how some have reached out since our last get together.
Being a co-facilitator with Holly Brody was a wonderful experience as her professionalism, empathy, and overall knowledge were all on display.
The group also enjoyed the choices of food that we provided and had wonderful bonding time over our meals. Everyone has expressed that they learned a lot, plan to implement many of the skills, and as a whole, really emphasized the need to take our knowledge and experience to help create a community of learners.
I hope to be involved in many more cohorts, such as the wonderful group at Brentwood Elementary this past February.