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Dr. Deborah’s Thoughts of the Month

This past week a mother and her four year-old son showed up at the front door of Happy Home. She looked depressed and despondent and when she opened her mouth to speak she said the words that I found difficult to hear. She said, “my son just got kicked out of preschool.” As I listened, she told me that teachers were impatient and had zero tolerance for misbehavior. After consoling and speaking to her for over an hour, I too had to give her the disappointing news that Happy Home was at capacity with a long wait list and therefore I could not admit her young son. It pained me not to admit him because I knew without a doubt that putting him in a different environment with teachers who nurtured him would have made all the difference in his young life. As she left, I thought to myself, why aren’t we equipping and empowering teachers to handle difficult children?


Dr. Howard Gardner Professor of Education at Harvard University conducted a research study. In his findings he determined that children up to the age of 4 are operating at the genius level. That same group of children were studied in their early 20’s and only 10% were still operating at the genius or brilliance level. By their early 30’s only 2% were operating at the genius or brilliance level. So that begs the question where did the genius go? It didn’t go anywhere it just became buried by teachers who said; “color in the lines, sit down, be quiet, give that back, you can’t do that.”


So, the more you hear what you can’t do where you can’t go, what you can’t become there is a neurological path that is created in the brain that causes individuals to shut down. So what happens is that people go through life and they have potential to be great. They have the genius of God in them but in order for it to be released they have to be in an environment where they are celebrated not just tolerated.


So as I write this, I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me with teachers who have a heart for all children regardless of their unique personalities. I am grateful that they take the time to explain what is expected rather than putting children in “time out”. I am grateful that they are teachable as I require them to read books like Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits and Ken Blanchard’s, The One Minute Manager just to name a few. I am grateful that they push themselves to fulfill their yearly goals not because they won’t be re-hired if they don’t but because they truly want to become the best and highest versions of themselves. Although that four year-old little boy will never get the opportunity to be at Happy Home, I hope he knows that we will be praying for him now and always.


Until next time, Be A Light

Dr. Deborah L. Tillman

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