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I Did It!!

On Wednesday, I presented a Parent Enrichment “class” about Fishful Thinking to Burke and Maggie’s preschool. There were about 30 people there…probably about 1/2 parents and 1/2 teachers. The teachers received credit toward their teaching certification for attending. (How cool is that?? 🙂 )

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Now, if you know me at all, you know that I’m SO NOT a public speaker. In high school, I was always the stage manager … never on stage. So this is actually a huge deal for me. It’s not something that I’d like to do all the time – but it was a great bunch, and I actually had a lot of fun!

Before going in, I kept telling myself that the message is so great … even if I completely mess things up and all they get out of it is “Fishful Thinking is a great tool to help you raise optimistic kids…go see the website,” I’ve done my job. LOL!

I prepared a folder with a CD pocket in the front. In the CD pocket, I placed the FT brochure and the cute little booklet. I put 6 articles I printed out (double-sided – save a tree!) in the big pocket: 1 for each of the 5 ingredients and an extra one that just resonated with me. I had business cards printed out and used double-sided tape to attach it to the front of the folder. And I had some left-over pens from the summer’s kit to attach to the side. And, of course, I had Goldfish to hand out as well. 🙂

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Once there, I introduced myself, gave a little bit of background about me, Pepperidge Farm, Dr. Reivich, and Fishful Thinking. Then I went into my schpeal.

For each of the 5 ingredients, I explained what they were and then broke the crowd up into smaller groups of 4 or 5. I handed out the questions that came with the Ambassador kit and got the groups really thinking about things for about 5 minutes or so…and then brought them back together and asked a group or two to share what they came up with. It was neat to overhear the discussions – these questions really got everyone thinking! We chatted a little bit more about the ingredient and I’d give a fact or two that I found on the Fishful Thinking website.

I then introduced a “kid” activity that went along with the ingredient. I had done a few of them with my kids, so I brought along “samples.” (The treasures box went over REALLY well – especially since it can be used in families with kids of all ages).

At the end I told them about my absolute favorite thing that’s come out of Fishful Thinking so far: The Shake Off the Frustrations Dance 🙂 And then answered questions.

I presented a sign-up sheet for a Yahoo Group I created for anyone interested in knowing when a new article or activity is introduced…and the night was done!

I had a few people come up and just gush about how great the program sounds and how they can’t wait to hear more. One of my kids’ teachers came up and mentioned that they were thinking about how they do things, and were really happy to know that they DO do things that were mentioned when I was talking (for example, setting small – attainable – goals that kids can master like picking up all of the green blocks).

All-in-all, it was a really great experience.

Drawing Class

Burke is starting to really love his drawing class!! Which is a major load off my mind since it was a REALLY rocky start. I wasn’t going to go into it here, partially because I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, and partially because – if I’m honest – I’m a little embarrassed about it. However, I’ve always been honest here and I do try to document things that have been going on…and now that it seems to be behind us, I’m going to write about it so that perhaps if anyone else runs across a similar issue, it will help them out.

When Burke first started going to his drawing class he would argue with us about going. He did NOT want to go … anything else in the world was better. We were baffled because we know he LOVES coloring and drawing. When we asked him why he didn’t want to go he said it was because he didn’t like his teacher. So I’m racking my brains trying to think of anything she may have done or said to him (I’m usually just sitting out in the hall on a bench when he’s in class)…but I can’t think of anything. So we asked why he doesn’t like her. The answer completely shocked us: “I don’t like her skin.” Not said just once…said whenever he was asked why he didn’t like his drawing class. And said to whoever asked…

Now, if you know Mike or me at all – you know that we are probably two of the most accepting people around. (well. unless I have to tell you something more than once – then all bets are off 😉 ) So, as you can imagine we were at a loss and just couldn’t figure out where this was coming from.

Needless to say, we still had him go to class. And along the way I’d say things like “I really like your teacher – I think she’s beautiful” (she is) or “Your teacher is so nice!” (she is) or “You’re learning so much from your teacher – it’s really great that she shares all of her knowledge with you…” I wanted to address things without making a bigger deal of it than it might have been for him…does that makes sense? You know…the more you push something, the worse it gets.

For the first few weeks it didn’t really seem to be sinking in … until right before last week’s class when I casually mentioned “What if your mommy had darker skin? Would you not like me then?” I could see the wheels turning…and went on with “Or what if someone didn’t want to talk with you because they didn’t like your freckles…wouldn’t that make you sad?” More wheels going in the head and a quick nod … And then it turned out that he was the only one in class for about 10 minutes, so he had his teacher all to himself for a while…

After that class (on a Monday), the entire way home he was trying to negotiate with me to go again on Wednesday LOL! Except … as soon as we hit our driveway he went back to “I don’t like Drawing Class.” I let it drop because it felt different this time…like he didn’t really mean it; he was just trying to see what I’d say.

Yesterday, the whole way home, he was talking about how he really likes drawing class and when these sessions are over at the end of the month he wants to sign up for more!! And he didn’t change his mind once we hit the driveway either. I had tears in my eyes.

I’m going to chalk it up to fear of the unknown…I guess. Although, I know he has  friends at school who are all colors of the rainbow. Maybe it’s different when it’s someone of authority? Who knows. I’m just glad that it’s over.

Now – on to the fun stuff where I get to brag! Each week, they study a different artist. (yep, they’re only 4 and know more about various artists than I do at 35…) I don’t remember who it was this week, but it’s someone who studies movement. Burke’s teacher was SO impressed with his drawings this week! She said that he was looking at the artist’s drawings and just “got it” – and she really like his sketch of the guy jumping off the page. 🙂 They do a sketch first and then the ‘real’ drawing goes on ‘real’ paper. (Have I mentioned yet how impressed I am with this class?)

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Jumping off the Page

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The Final Project

And close-ups:

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