Tag: @ToddWhitaker

Will you be my friend? Finding Friends on Friday

“Childhood lies at the very heart of who we are and who we become.” Fred Rogers

Mister Rogers was not afraid to talk about difficult social issues, tackle them head on and make it a priority to support children in the best way he knew how! He talked about divorce, assassination, death, racial issues and talked honestly and openly about subjects adults were often afraid to speak about, but which children often silently wondered and worried about. He utilized his platform to help children, and adults too, know that there are some things no one can understand. “Some things I don’t understand.” However, with honest, open and continued conversations in positive, optimism for solutions are found. We are one nation working together to make a great neighborhood for all.

We are all friends! I want to thank my best friend in kindergarten, Tammy! We enjoyed many years growing up in a confusing time, but never for us! She helped to button my coat when I couldn’t and I can still remember her being crowned queen in high school. Children only see differences when they are taught to see them. I was never taught to see anything but friends.

Although children’s “outsides” may have changed a lot, their inner needs have remained very much the same. Society seems to be pushing children to grow faster, but their developmental tasks have remained constant. ~Fred Rogers

Children could turn on the television and find security in the voice and words from Fred Rogers. He could influence how they felt about themselves and others by the words of encouragement he had. Each time the child tuned in, he consistently shared the message of self-worth, hope, security, stability, and confidence, as he ensured trying is okay even if you fail. You are perfect just being you!

I want to pose this question: What resources do children have to turn to daily for this kind of reinforcement?

Next question: What are ways we can help children have this kind of reinforcement daily?

Finally: Children and adults are spending countless hours online in Zoom meetings/virtual classrooms, no real face-to-face interactions with others, and facing hours of negative news. How can we help address fears, calm emotions, reduce the negative effects?

People need people! We need to have opportunities to talk, engage in fun activities in real-time, and enjoy the company. Isolation from others is difficult. Think about all of the children who went from being gone every day involved in multiple activities to now sitting staring at a computer screen.

Do you know anyone who retired and then was miserable? If you do, then you know it is because they did not plan out how it would be when all of their “work friends” would still be busy in their work-life and they found themselves with nothing to keep themselves focused on or a purpose in life.

Stages in life provide us with the lessons to form our foundation. I focus a great deal on words and actions. Even when we believe no one is listening or watching, they are. I have gained this from my own experience and from the children I have served.

My hope is if you have chosen to read this blog, you will be my friend and provide me with your thoughts on how to create better neighborhoods for all children. How can we stop all of the negatives and replace them with positives? I promise together we can gain solutions!

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