Seeing the Potential

When we see the potential in another – when we believe that person can accomplish great things – a life is changed forever.

One HYCL Team Member’s Account:

The first week I taught kindergarten in our new community, I was stunned at how little the children knew. Many did not know their own names and answered only to nicknames like “Pookey, Flower, or Sister.” Most children had never been in a classroom setting and many did not have paper, pencils, or a book in their home. So I kept my expectations low and addressed only the basics of the curriculum.

In October, the school held a talent show and we attended the event. When a sixth grader began demonstrating his talent to the song Achey Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus, my students came alive. To my shock, in concert with the rest of the assembly, my 27 five-year-olds stomped their feet on the bleachers and sang – all 211 memorized words.

Suddenly, I saw their potential and knew that they were capable of great things. They were full of ability and when we got back to our classroom, I told them so. From that moment on, I expected great things from them. I set lofty goals. They met them. I challenged their analytical skills. They problem-solved with proficiency. I raised the standards higher and they met me at the top. The rest of the year we celebrated their potential, their growth, and their remarkable achievements.

We share this story as a reminder to us all that what we see is not always accurate. Our perception of who a person is can often be skewed by our own vision, or lack thereof. We expect little, so we see little. But when we expect great things, when we truly believe in our children and in each other, we will see remarkable achievement. So let us set our sights high by believing in limitless potential and endless abilities. Let us see what God sees.

Teaching Children Honor

The other day we heard a preschool child mock her parent. It was not the first time. The parents and nearby adults laughed, thinking the child’s feisty attitude showed spunk. In truth, the disrespect revealed the beginnings of a path filled with trouble.

‘if you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.'”

We can conclude from this that the opposite is also true: if a child does not learn to honor his/her parents, things will not go well for them. This is a hard truth to consider, but you can see the practical application of this.

In school, a disrespectful student gets detention or suspension. In the community, a police officer who has to endure sarcasm will not favor the son or daughter who was speeding. And in the workplace, no employer is going to tolerate rebellion and dishonor. All this “attitude” may promote a certain peer popularity now, but it also makes for a hard life.

If we are to raise up a generation of strong, committed children of God, we must not succumb to the popular misconception that a child with “attitude” is a child who will succeed.

As parents, when we demonstrate honoring one another in our homes, let us take the time to explain to our young children why. Respecting one’s elders is not an old-fashioned idea. It is the means by which we obtain a rich and rewarding life.

Replacing Bad Memories

Accidents happen. It’s part of childhood. And most of the time the tears are dried and the child continues on his or her way. But once in a while the fearless little explorer requires more than a kiss and a cookie.

Below is a wonderful account of how the trauma of an accident was turned into a happy memory. With a little help, he revisited the event – on purpose.

Recently, a four-year-old boy named Conner was injured while exploring stored lumber in his yard. EMT’s took him to the hospital with a fractured skull. A week after surgery he came home. (He is just fine). When his mother called the fire department to thank them for their kindness, the fireman on duty asked if they could make a social call the following Thursday.

The next week, amid blaring sirens, an EMT truck and a fire engine pulled up in front of Conner’s house. He and his little sister were entertained by the crew and invited into the trucks. Pictures were taken and within twenty minutes, the children had new memories to replace the old ones. When the trucks pulled away – sirens blaring – the gathering neighbors waved goodbye.

Thanks to all those who serve our communities with dedication and excellence. You are appreciated!

For more information about how to replace a negative memory or about a child’s physiological memory, visit the article “Physiological Memory.”

Or, about replacing bad memories: blog post “New Parts.”