Cultivating Caring Communities

This week was my last parent helping shift in the classroom at HFP. As I went through the motions of the day, I felt more like an observer than a participant. It was so much to take in. Four years of my life coming to a close. Just as the classroom has changed over the years with new curtains and shelving, new books and activities – so have the children. These kindergarten-bound people were babes on hips, in slings and on breast when I met them! The younger siblings of HFP children, they have truly grown up in the sand lake and among this community. And I take in the rawness of the new friends, the families who have just begun their journey at HFP, with siblings still on hips and in bellies. It takes me back. My heart feels full.

During my last shift, through my teary eyes, I witnessed our children’s incredible kindness. I was taken back by the respect they have for one another. Pleases, thank you’s, patience for one another, offering assistance to each other, acknowledging accomplishments in each other…. I thought to myself, “these are good people.”

While using the restroom in preparation for some outside play, Truman and Dane were getting a little on the wild side as they waited for Uzi and Parker to wash hands. Simultaneously, the two boys bonked the backs of their heads on the cement wall of the restroom. Immediately, the play stopped, their hands clutched the backs of their heads, and tears streamed down their faces. Through teary eyes and a sobbing voice, Truman reached over to Dane and wrapped his arms around his friend’s body, asking, “Are you okay, Dane?” One friend offers another tenderness even while in pain. What a sweet moment to witness.

Recently, I visited a friend who just had her first baby. She told me that she and her partner had recently been discussing my communication style. I had no idea what she meant. She explained how she has witnessed the way I talk to my children and described it as “promoting empathy.” She recalled an incidence when I had noticed my child’s friend playing a game near the top of a staircase. Apparently I said to the child, “That makes me nervous when you play that so close to the stairs. How about if you move this way a little bit so that it feels a little safer.” My friend told me that it struck her because she claims that she would have just said, “Hey, move away from the stairs please.” She commended me, and then went on to say that she wishes she could communicate like that but that it’s not that easy to just change your communication style. The reason I have adopted this “empathetic communication style” is because I have purposely surrounded myself and my family with a community of thoughtful families. We have chosen to join the HFP community, whose culture is respectful to each other, thoughtful in our words and actions, and progressive in our parenting. I hope when my friend’s child is ready for preschool, that she finds a community like HFP.

Thank you, HFP, for providing an environment of kindness and empathy for our children and families.

Jenny Lawrence (Arrow)