Lots of What I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

6:30 PMHeather

First of all, lest you think I am a one-trick pony, let me assure you that this blog is not on the verge of becoming a series-per-week blog. I know, I know--I did a series last week. And, here I am again--diving into a week long series. But, rest assured, bloggy friends--I have been thinking of this week for a long time, and it just happened to fall after the Family Rules. You see, this week ends with a personal milestone on Saturday. And, no, this is not about tooting my own birthday horn. But I do hit the big 4-0 in just 5 days. Whew. I've come a long way, baby. Really, I've long been planning my blog for this week with one thing in mind. As I reflect on this big birthday, I want to brag not on me, but on the Lord. This week is about this.

"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,
that you have brought me this far?"
2 Samuel 7:18

God has, indeed, brought me THIS FAR! So join me as we take a walk down memory lane and consider my life lessons along the way. We'll hit the top 40, just without the help of Kasey Kaseem. So, let's start at the very beginning, and consider the elementary years.

1. Names really will hurt you. Sticks and stones and all that, but in my experience, it really isn't true that names will never hurt you. I was taunted for a speech impediment. I was teased for the boy hair cut I had. It hurt. A lot. Our words build others up or tear them down. Only in God's plan would He give this formerly shy and lisping kindergartner a love for public speaking.

2. Sisters are built in best friends who always get your back. I was scared to be alone in my room at bedtime when I was little. In hindsight, it might have had something to do with that huge and FRIGHTENING painting of a clown on the wall across from my bed? Anyway, I would usually end up going into my sister's room next door and climbing in with her. We would play this game where we wrote letters on each other's backs with our fingers in order to spell a word. This usually led to lots of giggles and not much sleep. But, my sister has had my back ever since.

3. One grown-up's investment in a child's interests can have a life long impact. Hi, my name is Heather, and I am addicted to crafts. Always have been. I would sew little stuffed animals from fabric scraps. One day at church, a lady noticed my hand-stitched purse I carried ever-so-proudly. So, she struck up a deal with my mom to give me sewing lessons. Mrs. Lewis so patiently taught me and encouraged my creativity, and even sold my parents the sewing machine I learned on. Going to her house weekly for my lessons was a little piece of heaven. She took notice of me, and despite being a busy mom of preschoolers, she invested in me. I think this is where my passion for sparking other's creativity took root.

4. Long walks make lifelong memories. I lived in Hawaii from kindergarten through third grade, and the most significant memories I have revolve around the time that others spent with me. My Uncle Craig would come visit in the summer (yes, tough gig for a teenage boy to come help with his nieces in HAWAII for the summers) and drive us all over. And, I can remember both my Poppy and my Grandmother coming for a visit and the long walks we would take all over the Army base. And, I remember when our family would spend the entire day at the beach. It was the time that others spent with me that meant the most.

5. Childhood is meant to be carefree. One of the best things about our time in Hawaii were the long summer nights when all the kids in our cul-de-sac would play this game called 50-50 Scatter. I honestly can't remember the details, other than it involved hiding and seeking and flashlights. From Hawaii, we moved to Iowa, and oh, the fun we would have in the hours we spent building snow forts. Just long endless hours having fun. In our busy culture, we need to allow enough margins in our lives that our children can also have these long uninterrupted hours.

6. Polyester is NEVER in style. Oh my. The shutters I feel when I look back at some of my childhood pictures. I know, I know--it was in style back then. I will say that the only thing worse than some synthetic fabric floor length orange floral dress is TWO of them. Because, yes, my sister and I had many the matching dresses. Being the younger sister, I would finally outgrow mine--only to have her version handed down. Sigh. But this is the stuff of late night laughter when we all get together. And, truth be told--everyone has those moments.

7. Books can be your very best friends. When I lived in Hawaii, the state's schools were ranked 49th in the country. Not good for an inquisitive young girl. We spent hours each school day on H.E.P.--the Hawaiian English Program. If I didn't speak English, I am sure that this would have been helpful. But instead I spent my morning whizzing through those SAR cards--remember those? I loved the thrill of moving up from one color the next, marking my improved reading skill. And, how I loved the M.S. Read-a-thon! Making my list of all the books I had devoured. Reading was--and is--such a great escape!

8. The 70's were a magical time to grow up. We had rotary dial phones and used pay phones if we were out and about. Never could have imagined cell phones. Computers were something we heard NASA had, and they were the size of a room. We had four channels on the television, and that was enough. Cartoons came on during Saturday mornings only. We listened to music on our records, and the "B" side was almost never worth listening to. We had the Bee Gees, not the Jonas Brothers. We went roller skating, and I rocked those tennis shoe roller skates--forget roller blades. We could bike and walk all over, and head home when it started turning dark. Life was simpler and slower, and we weren't constantly connected to the entire world.

INTENTIONAL challenge: What do you remember from your elementary years? What life lessons linger and echo in your own life? Take some time and think about it. Try going to Pandora radio and listen to some Andy Gibb or KC and the Sunshine Band while you walk down memory lane.

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