Friday, March 27, 2009

The Big Bad Three

When I was teaching, I was fortunate enough to work with the best guidance counselor in the world. Seriously, the best. She taught me so much about how to educate for character with children.
The first time that Mrs. Moore came into my 3rd grade classroom, I must admit I was more than a bit skeptical. She entered the room pushing her Magicamobile, a shopping cart painted blue and filled with interactive props and materials used to teach her lessons. She walked to the front of the classroom, looked at the boys and girls, clapped her hands and said in an over-animated voice, “1-2-3-4-5-6, Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty. Repeat it with me boys and girls.”
At this point I thought, without a doubt, that she would be laughed right out the classroom door. Instead, with wide eyes and mouths hanging open, the kids dutifully clapped their hands and repeated, “1-2-3-4-5-6, Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty.”
From that moment on, I was hooked. Instead of slipping out of the room to make Xerox copies for my next lesson, or heading down to the teachers lounge for a cup of coffee, I stayed in my classroom and participated in Mrs. Moore’s guidance lessons. I learned so much about how to teach for character and how to become a better person myself (I am still working on that stop-think-think again-before you do or say lesson, Mrs. Moore!)
As I parent, I find myself using many of Mrs. Moore’s lessons with Molly. Even though she is only three, I still use the language and hope that some of it sinks in. I now have proof that indeed it has.
I’ve started to talk to Molly about the Big Bad Three, but thought that it may be a little over her head. Guess not….The other day I put Molly in a time out. She was angry at me for taking away a toy so she knocked over a kitchen chair (She actually dragged the chair across the kitchen and pushed it over on the carpet as to not damage the chair-God, I love that girl!). Anyhoo, after her time out, I was processing the incident with her. Here’s our conversation:
Me: Why were you in time out, Molly?
Molly: Because I did a Big Bad Furee (three), Mommy.
Me: (shocked-this is the first time she has verbalized this) Oh really? Which one did you do?
Molly: I hurt pop-ter-tree.
Me: What property did you hurt?
Molly: The chair. I pushed over the chair.
Me: Yea, you did. That wasn’t very nice, was it?
Molly: No, it hurt the chair.
Me: Do you know all of the Big Bad Three?
Molly: Yep. I can’t her myself, I can’t hurt other people, and I can’t hurt pop-ter-tree!
Me: That’s right. You can get mad if that’s what you feel, but you can do the Big Bad Three. What can you do instead?
Molly: I can hit a piw-woe (pillow).
Me: Yep, that’s right. It’s okay to hit a pillow if you are mad. Why don’t you try doing that next time instead of knocking over a chair?
Molly: Okay, Mommy.
Let me tell you, I was one proud momma. And I think Mrs. Moore would have been proud, too. God love ya, Mrs. Moore. Your reach is farther than you’ll ever know.

You have the right to get angry.....

but you don't have the right to do......

The Big Bad Three!

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