Tag Archives: Passion

Source of LIFE

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In most cases I consider myself an introvert. I enjoy being around other people (most of the time) once I’m there, but it takes a lot of energy and intentionality for me to be ‘on’ and leaves me pretty drained. I get energized by being home, in the quiet, often by myself. Time to think, time to reflect, and time to plan. There is, however, one notable exception. Kids are a HUGE source of life for me. Being around kids energizes me. Spending time with children teaches me about myself. More importantly I can’t help but see truths of God magnified in ways that touch my heart more powerfully than anything else when I watch kids be kids.

Most recently I’ve been caring for my nephews after several weeks of not spending any time with kids.  I love it!  I have never realized just how clearly kids are a life source for me!  Maybe I shouldn’t let myself be away from kids…hmm….

  • At the pool with the boys, God encouraged my heart with lessons on trust, faith and patience.
  • Gazing at the stars with them, God comforted me as we talked about how big God is and His creativity.
  • Resolving a pouting issue, God reminded me to be thankful for so many things
  • Cooking dinner, God showed me yet again how beautifully the fellowship of believers was created to be and function

Just a very short list of the many reasons I am so grateful to spend time with kids.  Not only for myself, but its also a great way to talk to kids about God- tell them what He is teaching me in the moment and how He is shining through them without them even knowing it!  Encouraging them to look for God in their lives.

As we were walking home from the park this morning, I was sharing with them how much I love spending time with them and how hanging out with them is my very favorite thing in the world.  I explained that kids are my very biggest passion and that God created everyone with a different passion.  We got to talking about their passions.  We defined passion as whatever we love doing the most, that makes us feel energized and happy.  Khai said that he was most passionate about football.  Devin said that his passion was singing.  It was a really fun conversation.

Wikipedia defines passion as the following.

Passion (from the Ancient Greek verb πάσχω (paskho) meaning to suffer) is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something.

The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love – to a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion, a positive affinity or love, towards a subject, idea, person, or object.

What are you most passionate about?  What activity or idea or teaches you the most about yourself?  God?  The world?  Are you sharing that passion with those around you?  Are you operating inside your passion?

The Stuff God Made

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This is a new one for me- but it is quickly becoming a huge passion-the importance and immense value of being out in nature- not just outside.  In my years of childcare I’ve always aimed to take children outside, visit a park, explore nature and get fresh air.  Parents nearly always express the desire that I daily take their child for a walk or do some sort of outdoor activity.  These are some reasons I’ve heard most often and some things I’ve learned about the ‘whys.’

  • Sunshine produces Vitamin D:  10-15 minutes of sunshine to the arms and legs produces 3,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D; fortified whole milk only provides 100 IU per cup!
  • Fresh air is good for our lungs and bodies: fresh air is lower in pollutants, more oxygen dense and has significantly more negative ions; These factors are proven to increase endorphins, strengthen immune system,and  improve sleep, metabolism and lung capacity!
  • Good outlet for physical activity: just makes good sense.
  • Wears kids out:  supported by all of the above.

In addition, the Boston Globe published an article a couple of years ago entitled ‘How the City Hurts Your Brain.’  Four pages of fascinating!  It speaks of the effects of city life on mainly adults but also children in comparison to spending time in nature.  Here are a few quotes I found most interesting.

“Hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows, and that women living in public housing are better able to focus when their apartment overlooks a grassy courtyard. Even these fleeting glimpses of nature improve brain performance.”  Pg. 1

“A city is so overstuffed with stimuli that we need to constantly redirect our attention so that we aren’t distracted by irrelevant things….  The mind is like a powerful supercomputer, but the act of paying attention consumes much of its processing power.  Natural settings, in contrast, don’t require the same amount of cognitive effort.”  Pg. 2

“Natural settings are full of objects that automatically capture our attention, yet without triggering a negative emotional response — unlike, say, a backfiring car. The mental machinery that directs attention can relax deeply, replenishing itself.”  Pg. 2

“According to several studies, children with attention-deficit disorder have fewer symptoms in natural settings. When surrounded by trees and animals, they are less likely to have behavioral problems and are better able to focus on a particular task.”  Pg. 3

“In that stroll down Newbury, the brain is also assaulted with temptations — caramel lattes, iPods, discounted cashmere sweaters, and high-heeled shoes. Resisting these temptations requires us to flex the prefrontal cortex, a nub of brain just behind the eyes. Unfortunately, this is the same brain area that’s responsible for directed attention, which means that it’s already been depleted from walking around the city. As a result, it’s less able to exert self-control, which means we’re more likely to splurge on the latte and those shoes we don’t really need. While the human brain possesses incredible computational powers, it’s surprisingly easy to short-circuit: all it takes is a hectic city street.”  Pg. 3

“Psychological benefits of green space are closely linked to the diversity of its plant life. When a city park has a larger variety of trees, subjects that spend time in the park score higher on various measures of psychological well-being.”  Pg. 4

“When a park is properly designed, it can improve the function of the brain within minutes. As the Berman study demonstrates, just looking at a natural scene can lead to higher scores on tests of attention and memory. While people have searched high and low for ways to improve cognitive performance, from doping themselves with Red Bull to redesigning the layout of offices, it appears that few of these treatments are as effective as simply taking a walk in a natural place.”  Pg. 4

All of this makes me wonder what studies more specifically geared to children would show about how a child’s brain is affected by city life in contrast to more natural settings.  I also can’t help but wonder if school playgrounds are set up to provide maximum benefit for our kiddos.  It also increases my appreciation for the only fully outdoor preschool of our nation.  I shared this on Facebook not long ago, but it has really stuck with me.

Next time I’m spending time with kiddos I am even more eager to take advantage of the stuff God made and get out into rich, diverse and fabulous nature around us!

Next time I’m debating going to the gym to run on the treadmill vs. heading to a trail and enjoying some fresh air, sunshine and trees, I hope I begin to choose the latter.

Ready, Set, ART!

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I ran across this amazing word cloud that basically depicts another one of my PASSIONS with kiddos!  I LOVE ART!  And I think a childhood without exploring all manner of artistic medium and ideas is bleak indeed.  To give credit where credit it absolutely due, I found this word cloud on Tinker Lab’s website this morning and had to share and give it props!  Whether a mom or childcare provider, involved relative or friend, having a setup with all of these at hand (or many of them) is sure to provide hours of fun at a moments notice!

I added a few things- and found a few suggestions to the list as well…

*straws

*bubble wands/bubbles

*magnet tape

*wheels of all sorts

*shaving cream

*tooth brushes

*pudding

Basically, the list is endless!  There are SO many creative ways to play and make art!  Thinking outside of the box is part of what makes art so darn fun, rewarding and perfect for kids!!!

DID YOU KNOW

~ Art stimulates both sides of the brain and develops hand eye coordination!

~Art is also a fun way to teach analysis to young minds- creating something out of nothing, looking at the strengths and weaknesses, planning strategies to reach desired outcome- all while having fun!

Passion #1

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Welcome to the world of a Childless Mother!  Here I will share all of the fascinating things I find about kids, adventures I undertake with kids “on loan” to me by their parents and occasionally the heartache of unfulfilled desire.  Child development amazes me and the wonder of learning and sharing, teaching and loving kids is a life giving force to my heart and soul.  There are SO many adventures to be had with kids!

Here is one of the things I am MOST passionate about:

Reading to Kids!

 

DID YOU KNOW

*Comprehension levels from listening and reading do not equal out until around 9th grade!  Even if your child has learned to read, continue reading to them!  There are SO may benefits!

*The children’s chapter books and beyond that are being published today have significantly more words with single syllables and sentences with simple construction than otherwise.  Expose your children to classic literature; their vocabulary and literary intelligence will soar!

*The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease is a fabulous resource on this subject.  Check it out!  And let me know what you think!

Along these lines I frequently explore the world of children’s literature and keep up on the trends.  I even dream of one day writing children’s books of my own!  I look forward to sharing what I find.