From the Counselling Corner
While this topic could be presented at any time throughout the year it is presented here as our society typically emphasizes its importance at this time. Winston Churchill stated the following about giving: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
This statement seems logical—we do make a living by our pay cheques—the cheque often determines what we can and cannot afford. In this way it does define our living.
Churchill makes an astute observation however between “making a living” and “making a life”. In contrast, making a life is determined by “what we give”. The early morning wake up calls, breakfasts ready made, lunches near our books, running to the bus, helping with homework, running to the store to purchase items for a project on short notice, reading bedtime stories are all ways that we give to our children.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Pine Street’s families for assisting us in “making a life” at our school. One example of giving involves our entire school population. We give on a monthly basis to World Vision as we support a young child in Africa. We give to the Christmas Bureau. We give to the Stollery by providing homemade teddy bears to the youth that are currently residing there. We also gave to Hope Mission this past month by paying for and serving a meal to the homeless.
On behalf of Pine Street we thank-you for your kindness and generosity of spirit. Thank-you for “making a life” for our children.
last updated; November 30th, 2013
From the Counselling Corner
Recently, we have been visiting the kindergarten classes to learn about working, listening and respecting each other. Who is we? I Care Cat and myself. It has been an amazing experience getting to know the children. I am always in awe of their responses:
“What does responsibility mean?” I Care Cat asks.
A child responds, “It means helping out someone---like my dad. I helped him rake the leaves.”
“How do we use our hands for helping?” I Care Cat ponders.
A student shares, “I help my mom do the dishes.”
“How do our friends know we are listening?” I Care Cat wonders.
One girl says,“Are ears are open and our mouths are closed. We look with our eyes”.
“How do we show we care?”
A boy replies,“Well, I let my baby brother cry”.
The children have been most helpful in helping I Care Cat and his friends work through some conflicts---wanting to have the same toy, or play with the same friend. His helpers have provided some very good suggestions, like sharing the toy—one person has for first little while, the second person has for the next little while. They also helped I Care Cat see that it is fun to play with many friends from time to time.
These young sweet children are sharing their understanding and learning about how to get along with a variety of peers. Getting along, cooperating and understanding conflicts do not just pop up in kindergarten however. They are a part of everyone’s life at sometime or another. Barbara Lewis has written a thoughtful book titled, “What Do You Stand For? A Guide to Building Character”, which reviews character traits from the perspective of a youth or pre-teen. Each chapter focuses on a different character trait. For example, one chapter highlights cooperation and provides a story about a situation that occurred in a school and how a young girl took steps to solve the problem. Lewis also provides an outline of how to solve a problem or a conflict:
a) Talk about what happened. Let each person have a turn at explaining why he or she did what he or she did.
b) Act kindly and politely. Talk about the problem not the person.
c) Listen. Ask questions to understand.
d) Keep trying to cooperate
e) Share in coming up with a solution.
This may be a starting place of a conversation about conflicts and cooperation with your child. Ask if your child knows what to do if he/she and a friend disagree? Let them know that conflicts are a natural part of life and learning about ways to solve an issue now will help in providing us with useful strategies later on. Sometimes conflict is confused with bullying. Bullying occurs when an individual purposely chooses to do something unkind towards someone over and over again. It is intentional. For example, a child tripping a student for the first time because he did not get the ball is not bullying. If that child continued to trip the same child again and again with intent, that would be bullying.
Here at Pine Street we work very hard at talking to students early on about situations that may occur such as disagreements on the playground. It is important to give students the appropriate tools and strategies so that when an event occurs he/she feels comfortable in trying to solve it.
We are now teaching grade six students tools and strategies to assist during recess. They are called our Recess Buddies and can be distinguished on the playground by their orange vests. They are encouraged to get to know and play with students. They have also been practicing how to solve a minor problem (“I lost my coat”, or “Sally would not let me have the swing”) using pro social skills.
Lewis, Barbara. “What Do You Stand For? A Guide to Building Character”. Minneapolis: Free Spirit, Inc, 2005.
last updated; October 30th, 2013