I get to celebrate my birthday "kindergarten style" each year and there is so much joy and excitement to be had in that celebration! And every kindergartener in my classroom can relate to the idea of birthday wishes. This week I shared the birthday wish of another little boy, Bubby, with my kindergarteners:
Cards and stickers. The birthday wish of a very sick little boy, and a mother's quest to fulfill this one birthday wish.
When my students saw Bubby and saw his mom in tears, they looked at me like, "Okay, let's get started." There was no question about what we were going to do.
I said, "I know I have a bunch of stickers we can send," and I immediately heard, "I have some boy pirate stickers I can send" (from a little girl of course!) "I have two dollars and it's a two dollar bill! How much are stickers?"
We have been studying God's faithfulness to his people through the stories of the Old Testament and have just finished learning the story of Samuel. One of our new favorite songs is about Samuel listening to God's voice.
When God places something upon our hearts, we need to listen, obey, and trust in Him.
So we got to work making cards!
And I heard this: "What is Bubby's favorite color?" "How do you write 'great'? I want to say have a great birthday!" "What if Bubby dies before our cards make it to Washington state?"
All of which opened up deeper discussions about what it means to listen, obey, and trust...moms and dads wanting joy for their children...cards are a gift for Bubby, but watching them all arrive will bring great joy to his whole family and community, not just him.
They were excited and worked hard, and I instructed them to write first - which they did, A LOT, and added pictures. Finally, we packaged up our cards for Bubby and hand-delivered them to the office for mailing.
I am constantly looking for opportunities for my students to use their emergent writing skills, and I strive to inspire their creativity and intrinsically motivate them to apply what they learn. Through this project they used sight words and sound spelling, combined with selected phrases brainstormed by the class and they wrote, and wrote, and wrote. It was indeed a fantastic opportunity for them to develop their abilities.
More than that, though, I find ways to encourage my students to use their God-given gifts and learned skills to serve others, and apply what we learn about Jesus' love by loving others as He does.
And also following the promptings of the Spirit who calls us to love, act, obey, trust.
Our kindergarten-sized birthday blessing, born out of the love and compassion of young tender hearts for a boy whose story touched theirs. Happy birthday, Bubby!