When my son started kindergarten a few years ago, I vowed to myself to draw a cute little picture on his foil-wrapped sandwich every day. Just a little something to remind him of home, to let him know I was thinking of him, to make him smile or feel loved.
A heart. A smiley face. A dinosaur. Pumpkins, candy corn and ghosts around Halloween. Snowflakes, Santa hats and candy canes in the winter. A car, a beach scene, Mickey Mouse, and on and on. By March, I’d completely run out of ideas.
That’s why I love this idea that author Mary Katherine Backstrom posted on Instagram (initially written by Amanda Cox):
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Today I was running low on pencils, so I asked all of my kids to pull out any of my pencils that they had in their desks. I had one student ask me if he could keep his pencils that his mom gave him for school. Of course, I said yes. He then said, “Well, I guess I’ll give you a few so my classmates can have them too.” I thought nothing of it and took the pencils that he handed me. When I was sharpening them, I noticed writing on a few of them. I then realized that my student’s mother took the time to write on his pencils. I asked him if he would mind showing me the rest of them. What I read melted my heart: – You are so talented. – This will be a great year. – You are creative. – You are phenomenal. – Never give up. – You can do this. – You are knowledgeable. – You are a math whiz. – You are intelligent. – Proud of you everyday. – I love you. – You have a brilliant mind. – You are wonderful. – You are a problem solver. – Follow your dreams. – You are perfect. – I am proud of you. – You will change the world. – You are amazing. – You are the best. – You are important. This probably took his mom a few minutes to do, yet it lit up his whole day at school. He wasn’t embarrassed that his mom wrote on his pencils. Thanks to his mom, he was reminded of his self worth and wanted to share the same feeling with his classmates. THESE are the things that we should be reminding our kids (both parents AND teachers). Imagine the look on a child’s face when they are reminded that they are important, talented, loved, knowledgeable and so much more. Help them know that someone believes in them and is proud of them in everything they do. Even if you think it is cheesy or you don’t have enough time or that you will have little impact, remember that you may be the only one telling and reminding them these things and EVERY kid needs to know their value. This is why I teach. ❤️ written by Amanda Cox #backtoschool #teachersofinstagram #teacher #inspirationalquotes
You can write sweet, encouraging notes that your kid will see over and over, every day. A reminder that you’re cheering them on without wondering if they’ll be able to tell that you meant to draw a dog, not a horse. Halfway through the school year, when all the pencils have been used up, broken or lost, you can ask them what their favourite phrases were and write those — plus a few new ones — on the next batch of pencils.
If you know your child will be able to keep and use their own pencils, you can make your messages personalised. But in some classrooms, the supplies are communal. You can still do this; another child in your kid’s classroom could probably use a reminder that “You are a star!” or “You are important.” Maybe you can still sneak a special one into your own kid’s pencil case that says, “I love you.”