8 lessons 3rd graders can teach you to have an extraordinary life


This summer has been amazing. Lots of family adventures and travel. I’ve got some images from a trip to Santa Fe I can’t wait to show you (soon!). I’m always a bit melancholy at the end of August, but there’s also some excitement mixed in there to get back at it.

As I head back to my classroom tomorrow, I will enter a place where I learn as well…A LOT, actually. I love letting go of the technology that has grabbed hold in our house with our teens. I love embracing the fact that I need to give all of my attention, because 8 and 9-year-olds require all of you most of the time. I am happy to give it to them. In fact, it’s nice to have someone want your attention and guidance sans grumbling! I have been making a list of what the small people in my life have taught me.





1) Let go of multi-tasking and give it your all

I believe it’s true. Multi-tasking makes a person stupid…well, as least me. There is so much power in giving complete focus to the task at hand, whether it’s teaching writing or making a green smoothie. I’m hell-bent on committing to this..and not just in my classroom. Cooking isn’t something I enjoy, but maybe it’s because I’m trying to make appointments on my cell and organize the cereal cabinet while I’m making spaghetti. Focus, Lara, focus!

2) Your wardrobe shouldn’t hold you back from playing kickball

I have really enjoyed having just a few items (black and gray–my Johnny Cash wardrobe!) to wear this summer and I’ve gone to great lengths to weed out my fall closet as well. Lots of comfortable fabrics with flexibility for crawling around on the floor. I managed to find items that also look professional. The extra time (and space in my brain) this frees up is very liberating.

3) Forgive easily and often

3rd graders don’t hold grudges. It’s fabulous and I intend to follow their lead on this as well. Not to be trite, but life’s too short to keep score. Is it that we have so much baggage built up over our tired, harried lives that we just can’t let go? Ahhh..to be 9.

4) Ask for help when obstacles arise

I’m not good at this and I’m always amazed at how easy this process is for kids. In our getting our rooms ready week, I have bravely asked people I respect for help with certain teaching methods/curriculum for this year. ‘Feels good! People want to help and feel honored when asked. We should do this more often.

5) Seek friendships with all walks of life

3rd graders do not polarize themselves in our school. They tend to be very open with who they play with during recess. I can’t say enough how much the cover-of-the-book-judging has hindered some great relationships in my life. I’m more open now to different types of people and have been enriched with these friendships.

6) Get excited about simple things

I can’t tell you how much squealing ensues when there’s a prize box involved in my classroom….or some extra time for a class kickball game…or a visitor coming in to our room to teach us something new. Their enthusiasm is contagious and awesome—one of my favorite things about this age. Having coffee ready to go in the coffee maker at 5:00 is something to be excited about. As is a found earring on the floor of the car.

7) Celebrate small victories

When did we stop celebrating little victories? They’re the lighter fluid that gets that fire roaring. Times tables, continent memorization, handwriting improvement…so many opportunities to dance the happy dance when I turn on I Feel Good in our room. Behind the prize box, dancing on the desk (with feet “glued” to the top) is our most coveted thing in room 205. As an adult, having the bills paid with a little money left over for a weekend trip is definitely something to shake the disco booty about.

8) Show appreciation & affection at every given opportunity

I’m a hugger. My kids take full advantage of this at the end of the day. I want them to know I’m proud of them and happy that we had our day together. What’s great about 3rd grade is that they’re small enough that it isn’t awkward 🙂 Especially with the boys. They slip and call me mom all the time–what a privilege to be in that category! Affection and appreciation is a bucket-filler for adults and sometimes we underestimate its power.

I hope your summer was extra lovely and you’re enjoying the beginnings of fall where you are.


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