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By April Powell, Director of Education and Primary Directress

Once upon a time, in a fairytale land some people call OakHaven Montessori School, there was a very perceptive girl in a primary classroom (yes, I know, they all are).  We’ll call her Julia.  One day this girl came home from school just gushing to her  mom and dad about what had happened at school that day.  This sounds like it could be any girl at any school in the whole world right?  Well, not quite.

At first, mom and dad couldn’t quite figure out what Julia was talking about  She was telling them that when she got to school Miss Kelly wasn’t there.  “But then,” Julia reported, “Miss Kelly showed up to school late!”

Knowing there was still more to this story, mom and dad continued to listen.  “Her car went off the road and into a ditch on her way to school this morning.  After the tow truck came and pulled her out she still came to school.

And…you’re never going to believe this…her shoes were wet ALL DAY!!!  Can you believe that she came to work after she drove into a ditch and then worked in wet shoes all day long?  I don’t think she even told anybody, but I saw how wet they were.”  Julia’s parents were amazed by this story and her perception of it.

This one little story (which is completely true, by the way) contains several valuable lessons for me:

 1.  We make a much bigger impact on our children with what we do than with what we say.  There is no lecture or speech in the world this aspiring directress could have given this girl that would have affected her like this.  It was through this woman’s actions that this child experienced and understood true work ethics and integrity.

– How are your actions impacting your child?

2.  They are always watching.  It never ceases to amaze me how children always see and feel the tiniest little details of every situation.  This is a great reminder and challenge to me to make sure I’m living my values at all times.

– Do you live the values you claim to have and wish to teach your children?  If not, do you need to change your behaviors or values?

3.  Lead from the front.  This woman is a great example of a true leader.  She did not come in and complain about her scary and difficult morning.  She didn’t even tell all of the details or ask to borrow dry shoes.  She simply called, explained the situation and showed up as soon as she could.  And this simple, yet very intentional act, without one single word made a huge impact on one girl’s life and understanding of it.

 – What kind of leader are you?  Do you tell your children what to do or show them?

4.  We need a village.  The reality is that our children are constantly receiving impressions and lessons from the world around them.  Sometimes they are wonderful things like this.  Others we would probably erase if we had that magic eraser.  Most, we will never see or know about (it is quite rare for these things to be verbalized this way).  This is such a great reminder to me of the colossal importance of environment in a child’s life.

– Who do you want your children modeling themselves after?  Are they surrounded by adults who uphold the values that are important to you and your family?

 All this being said, I know I’ll think twice before I gossip about another, yell at the credit card company who has clearly cheated me, drive without a seatbelt or throw my recyclables into the trash.  If I want the children to put their 100% into their work, I’ll put my 100% into mine.  If I want them to respect me, I’ll respect them.  And, hopefully, they’ll even notice when I keep my word, live from love and take responsibility for all of my actions.

Thank you all for being co-creators of such a beautiful and wonderful village here at OakHaven.  There is nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.