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When Corrie was asked what motherhood looked like to her as a woman with no children of her own, she shared her experience as a teacher, and how she becomes a mother figure to many of the children she has the privilege of teaching and the impact good parents have in their lives:

Which children look in my eyes when I ask them a question?  Which children have a quiet confidence?  Who has a wide vocabulary and can explain their thoughts clearly?  Who can stick with a difficult math problem until he/she figures it out?  At the beginning of each school year I seek to know the students in my fifth grade class as quickly as possible.  I want to know their likes and dislikes, personality traits, gifts, and about their family and life.  It’s not difficult to guess the students whose parents spend good quality time with them, the ones who hardly see their parents, or the students who bump back and forth between parents in separate homes.  There’s no judgement or blame – just an understanding that circumstances are different for each child, and some students will need more help with homework, some will need a stronger connection with an adult at school, and some will need help staying organized.

In my experience, the students who have strong bonds and relationships with their parents are generally happier, more resilient, and more confident.  Most of them handle peer pressure or teasing by communicating directly or asking for help instead of hiding it and feeling bad.  Their emotions are generally more stable, they have more self-control, and follow through on commitments.  I’ve seen other factors help children’s stability – morning and evening routines, eating healthier, exercise, less screen time, and financial stability, but those are not the key elements I’ve noticed over 21 years.  The key is Love in the home. Encouragement. Care. Time. Talking. It’s having fun together.

Like adults, children who are filled emotionally, can connect with others more easily, are more empathetic, handle stress better, and have a natural confidence.  They generally have more friends.  They value school for learning and have educational goals and plans.  The value of parental care is inestimable. Though they may be at school eight hours a day, your precious child’s whole experience is largely determined by what happens in your home.

-Corrie Clasen, Missouri Big Ocean Women member.