Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mc Feelings

With pride verging on arrogance, we are sure that we won’t make the same mistakes as our parents. They didn’t communicate with us very well and certainly were not good role models in teaching us to express our feelings productively. But we’re different. We’re evolved. We’ve developed feeling charts of all forms and sizes, with sad faces, scared faces, confused faces, tired faces. The more enlightened teachers post these in their classrooms, and some sensitive parents even display these on their kids’ bedroom walls. Learning centers include the Feelings Bingo Game, Feelings cards, the Talking, Feeling, Doing game, and so much more. We read books like “Moe gets Mad on Monday,” “Tracy gets ticked on Tuesday,” and on through the weekdays with alliterative fancy. We practice “feeling” words repeatedly with our children. “Say ‘I feel mad’. Don’t whop your baby sister in the face.” We’ve learned to discipline by accepting kids’ feelings but not their unsafe behaviors. You know, the line, “I like you, but I don’t like your behavior.” We’ve nailed it. We’re good, so good that when I asked the Preschool Panthers how they feel during circle time that one fine morning, they expressed themselves with a glowing confidence, vulnerability, and honesty. “I feel like McDonalds,” Jesse exclaimed. One by one, the others followed suit, feeling like a Big Mac, feeling like McDonalds, like French fries, even a milkshake. “Swell,” I thought. “I feel like a shot of whiskey myself.”

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