April 21st Kindergarten Day

If you can remember your days in Kindergarten you are probably a lot younger than I. For most of history, children stayed at home until 1st grade, actually they stayed at home and learned from mom and dad (Normally mom). In 1837, Friedrich Froebel figured out that it was better to start educating children early and introduced Kindergarten in Germany. It proved to be far better for children (And mom too!). It is surprising how much Kindergarten teaches children, beyond the obvious, it also teaches children social skills that helps them everyday of their lives. We celebrate today on Froebel’s birthday, April 21st, 1782.

How to celebrate – Visit your old Kindergarten class. (If the school still exists!) Volunteer at your local kindergarten (They can use the help) Look back at photos of when you were in kindergarten.

March 19th Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

Created by Campfire USA in 1997, the 3rd Thursday of March, today is the day to honor your incredible kid. Of course what makes your child incredible will differ from what makes another child incredible. Only you can determine that. And we all like to brag about our children and naturally they all excel at something different. I think that sometimes we are disappointed that they do not go after the things that we feel are important or that drive us to excel, but that’s okay, let them find their own place in this world. We can still support them, be proud of them, and they will always be our absolutely incredible kid.

How to celebrate – Look for the good in your children, don’t try to make them a mini you. Realize other people’s children are equally as talented as yours. Take your kid to lunch today.

February 27th National Retro Day

February National Retro Day

Remember the good ol’ days? Most of us think of the good old days as days when we were young and life was easier and more fun. As we age things generally become more complicated and difficult to deal with. Moments of pure joy are harder to find and a number of our dreams are lost to the vacuum of time. Well today is the day we revisit those dreams, moments of joy and our youth. Going back to when things were easier and every day was a present from God to open up and enjoy. Just as it should be today.

How to celebrate – Break out the photo album and take yourself back to when you were happiest. Allow others to celebrate their favorite era without judgement. Make the good ol’ days a part of your everyday.

September 29th VFW Day

I asked a young man the other day what the VFW was. At first he thought it was a car, then realized he was wrong, he said, it was the place where old guys go to eat dinner. It’s sad to think that our future leaders might not even know who the Veterans of Foreign Wars are, particularly when they are the reason that we haven’t had war here in the states since 1812 (aside from the Civil War but that was a civil affair).

These brave men and women meet the enemy on soil away from America to keep them from coming to America. Oh, and they aren’t all old!

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Formed by the Veterans of the Spanish-American War/Philippine War on September 29th, 1899, the VFW has been a part of America ever since. Their charge is to promote patriotism, create good will, and provide youth scholarships. They provide support for military service, community service, and promote youth activities.

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They share a common bond, having served their country, by going somewhere they didn’t want to go, and doing a job they didn’t want to do. Now they come back home and do what they can to make others lives better for the country they already gave to. That’s a pretty honorable group if you ask me. They already gave, and now they give even more. And the rest of us seem to forget who they are, and what they have done.

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There was a movie not long ago called, “A Band Of Brothers”, it was about men who served in World War 2. When the War was over, I can only imagine, when they came home they did not simply forget each other. When many of the Vietnam Vets came back they were met with cruelty and disgrace. That shame belongs to all of us… they were just doing their job. And yet forget about how we treated them, they came back here and have helped our youth, provided support for other veterans, and aided in rebuilding communities. How much of that have you done?

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It’s time we honored them, more than just one day, but if that’s all you can offer, at least offer the best you can on them, they have already done so for you. Their motto is, “To honor the dead by helping the living.”

How to celebrate – See what you can do for one of your local VFW’s. Thank any soldier you see for their service.  Remember those who gave everything so you could live everything.

April 21st Kindergarten Day

I have worked at an elementary school for nearly 23 years now.  While my job requires me to work with all ages from Kindergarten to fifth grade I daily see those kindergarten teachers after working with their classes all day.  The students seem fine and full of energy, the teachers look like death warmed over and ready to trade places with Rip Van Winkle.

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The idea for a school for small children started in 1779 when Johann Frederich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler opened a place for working parents to drop their children off for the day.  This was in Bavaria, Germany but rapidly begin to spread to other areas throughout the region.  In 1816 Robert Owen opened the “Infants School” in Scotland where children would be taught very basic things like manners and elementary skills.  Samuel Wilderspin elaborated on the idea in London and created the first ever “playground”.  In 1828 Countess Theresa Brunszuik opened what could be called a chain of “Infant Schools” in Hungry. But it was Frederich Flobel who opened the first “Play and Activity” institute in 1837 and gave it the name, Kindergarten in 1840.  That too is German and translated means, a “Garden for Children”.

The first Kindergarten opened in the US in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 but was only available to German speaking people.  Elizabeth Peabody opened the first English speaking school for tots in 1860.  The first free Kindergarten in the US opened in 1870 under the guidance of Conrad Poppenhusen.  From start to finish, this seems to be led heavily by the German influences all over the world.

Kindergartens exist in every modern day community, though there are still many children unable to attend for numerous reasons.  It varies in age, taking students anywhere for 2 years old to 7 years of age.  The roughest day is always the first day with lots of crying and anxiety… but after the mothers leave (they are the ones doing most of the crying)… the day gets down to a routine that children rapidly learn to accept and enjoy.  Children begin to learn how to cope with social expectations and the elements of what will be expected of them in the higher grades.

God bless those kindergarten teachers!  Those of us fortunate enough to have a child know what one or two of them demand at home.  Imagine that same demand coming from 12-20 of them everyday for 6-8 hours a day!

How to celebrate:  Buy your favorite kindergarten teach a box of candy, they deserve it.  Volunteer for a day to help out a kindergarten class.  Try to recall what your first day in kindergarten was like.