Dr. Deborah's Thoughts of the Month

This past week a mother and her four year-old son showed up at the front door of Happy

Home. She looked depressed and despondent and when she opened her mouth to speak

she said the words that I found difficult to hear. She said, “my son just got kicked out of

preschool.” As I listened, she told me that teachers were impatient and had zero

tolerance for misbehavior. After consoling and speaking to her for over an hour, I too

had to give her the disappointing news that Happy Home was at capacity with a long

wait list and therefore I could not admit her young son. It pained me not to admit him

because I knew without a doubt that putting him in a different environment with teachers

who nurtured him would have made all the difference in his young life. As she left, I

thought to myself, why aren’t we equipping and empowering teachers to handle difficult


Dr. Howard Gardner Professor of Education at Harvard University conducted a research

study. In his findings he determined that children up to the age of 4 are operating at the

genius level. That same group of children were studied in their early 20’s and only 10%

were still operating at the genius or brilliance level. By their early 30’s only 2% were

operating at the genius or brilliance level. So that begs the question where did the

genius go? It didn't go anywhere it just became buried by teachers who said; “color in

the lines, sit down, be quiet, give that back, you can’t do that.”

So, the more you hear what you can’t do where you can’t go, what you can’t become

there is a neurological path that is created in the brain that causes individuals to shut

down. So what happens is that people go through life and they have potential to be

great. They have the genius of God in them but in order for it to be released they have to

be in an environment where they are celebrated not just tolerated.

So as I write this, I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me with teachers who have a

heart for all children regardless of their unique personalities. I am grateful that they take

the time to explain what is expected rather than putting children in “time out”. I am

grateful that they are teachable as I require them to read books like Brendon Burchard’s

High Performance Habits and Ken Blanchard’s, The One Minute Manager just to

name a few. I am grateful that they push themselves to fulfill their yearly goals not

because they won’t be re-hired if they don’t but because they truly want to become the

best and highest versions of themselves. Although that four year-old little boy will never

get the opportunity to be at Happy Home, I hope he knows that we will be praying for

him now and always.

Until next time, Be A Light

Dr. Deborah L. Tillman

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