Educating Felicity & Friends
Together, our voices climb up the ladder of an octave as we sing, “F-E-L-I-C-I-T-Y.” I am so proud of 3-year-old Felicity as she sits next to me at her tiny school table, spelling her name in song. With great pride, she loves to belt out the “Y” at the end of her name. Next, we review all of her letter sounds. I am amazed at the progress she has made in the year we have worked together. Most especially, I am astounded by her ability to sit at the table for increased intervals of time for structured learning activities. With a huge variety of materials to target the same basic skills, most of the time Felicity remains engaged in the activities and is eager to participate in our scheduled “school” time. Proactive strategies such as a variety of materials, offering choices, humor, high energy, and positive reinforcement keep her motivated and focused. However, at times, her attention is lost, forcing me to delve into my repertoire of reactive strategies as a response to disruptive behaviors.
I pull out three different materials which target number identification and spread them out on the table in front of Felicity. “Which one do you want to do?” I ask. I love to watch her imitate what she has seen me do so many times. Tapping her finger on her bottom lip, she sighs, “Hmmmm,” while glancing at all of her options. Finally, she chooses the numbers fishing game. As I begin to open the bag of fish, I hear the familiar, “Me, me, me!” “How do you ask?” I respond. “Me peaz.” “Ok, you can open it,” I reply, handing her the bag. She opens the bag and dumps the magnetic fish onto the table. With the magnetic fishing pole, she “catches” a fish with number eight on it. Holding up the number, I ask, “What number?” Without hesitation, she responds clearly, “Eight!” I am excited that she remembers number eight. “Excellent! It is number eight!” Felicity takes the fish and while attempting to put it back it the bag, she accidentally drops it on the floor. Sliding onto the floor to retrieve the fish, she places it into my hand. However, deciding the floor is a fantastic change in location, Felicity decides to stay there. “Okay, come sit down again,” I invite her back to the table. “No!” she replies and climbs under the table. In a neutral tone of voice, I state, “Okay, I will wait until you show me you are ready.” I wait, ignoring her under the table. She sits there for a minute and eventually begins to poke my leg. No reaction. “Mar Mar,” she says as she peers at me from under the table with an attempt to make eye contact. “Felicity, I will know you are ready when you are sitting in your chair.” Her tiny stout body awkwardly climbs out from under the table. After pushing her blue chair closer to the table, she sits down once again and retrieves the fishing rod. “Now you are showing me you are ready. Let’s see if you can catch another fish,” I say with enthusiasm and a smile on my face.
Heavenly Father, how many times have I become side-tracked and distracted in life? How many times have I left You and stubbornly refused to follow Your will? You have always responded with gentleness. Having given me the great gift of free will, You never force me to do what You want me to do, even though You know what is best for me. Instead, you extend an invitation to me and wait patiently until I am ready.
When You Are Ready