Our elementary school, where all of our kids have thrived, has the best teachers and staff. One of the teachers, though, stands out in my mind as the heart of our school. He is the only "boy" teacher, as I've heard him described. Even though the school doesn't routinely place siblings with the same teachers, our girls have both been placed in his class for 3rd grade. Kate loved third grade, as well as every other grade. She is a natural student. Emma loves school and works hard, but academics don't come as easily to her. This year, as Emma is currently in 3rd grade, she is working hard to develop great study skills, organization, focus, and she is learning by leaps and bounds (and gaining confidence every day)!
My favorite aspect of the third grade year with the "boy" teacher is the compliment book.
Each student in the class helps to fill in the book of their classmates. They basically write each of their friends a small "letter" to list the things they appreciate about them. I can't think of a better way to encourage, build confidence, praise good behavior, or solidify friendships than through this concept.
I just read through Emma's compliment book and what stood out to me are the words of her classmates and teacher. Words like: kind, joyful, smart, hard worker, and organized. I'll be honest, organized is not a word that comes to mind when I think about Emma! But, I am thrilled that her spirit is joyful and that her kindness is evident to all in the school setting.
I think all of our relationships would thrive if we expanded on a basic third-grade exercise. I would challenge you to extol the virtues of your family and friends during this Christmas season. Maybe you could include a special message with your loved ones gift for Christmas morning (I'm totally going to do this!). Along with each of the gifts we'll be giving out this year, we'll be attaching a piece of paper that will compile the reasons (submitted by the kids and Rob and I) why we think our family member is special. It won't be elaborate or lengthy, but hopefully it will make them feel loved.
I will start by creating a compliment book for my family here on my blog. If you also have a blog, feel free to duplicate this idea for your family or friends! Let's love one another with words of affirmation.
I think you are awesome! You work very hard to provide our family with everything we need. You are very talented in many areas. You are so much fun to be around. You are the best. :)
You are a hard worker! You are always willing to help your dad with projects and chores. You are a kind person. I am proud of how you stand up for others (that shows bravery and leadership). You are a great friend and I love how you organized the building of the fort in our backyard. It was pretty awesome to look out the back window and see all of your friends working together to create something you all can be proud of.
You are a great big sister to Emma! You always take such good care of her at school. You are a great leader. You are so smart! I wish I could help you with your math homework, but you're already smarter than me. You are very thoughtful and kind. You are always willing to help me around the house. You are amazing with babies! You will be a great mom someday.
You are creative! You have so many talents. You are a very hard worker. You are extremely thoughtful. You have a great imagination. I love how you can set up parties. I think it's so cool that you worked hard to set up an ice-cream sundae bar last night for our family (as a surprise). You are so good at making everyone around you feel special!