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Dream a Little Dream

January 11, 2012
Dedicated to the special children at Heritage House: Thank you for the joy, happiness and delight you have brought to my heart

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” –Goethe from New Beginning Quotes


January always brings with it a sense of renewal, new beginnings and the unfolding of dreams. Anticipation and excitement embraces the adolescent and the venerable alike. New Year’s Eve always was an evening of celebration in our household while growing up. My parents invited family and friends over for a night of sledding on the immense hill beside our home. Torches flickered along the inclination as moving silhouettes flew down the bumpy slope. After the rigorous activity outside we would convene around the family room hearth. The aroma of hot cocoa and cookies filled every corner of our home. It was a warm atmosphere created by the mingling of conversations saying good-bye to the old and welcoming the new.

For many this transitory moment of the year brings about re-evaluation of a dream, lifestyle, job, relationship etc. Many declare their New Year resolution. Some feel compelled to announce this affirmation to many while other’s keep theirs sheltered in the recesses of the mind. Getting a child in on this game at an early age is fun. Embarking on dreaming, setting goals, learning strength in getting back up when you fall, and showing determination. When our kids started through the pre-school years we talked about eventful times on the calendar. We discussed something’s that they wanted to happen in the coming season. These ideas were unadorned accounts of trips to a store, walking to a park, sliding on a hill, visiting grandparents, learning to ride a bike etc. It did create an environment where it was natural to dream and talk about things they wanted to explore. When they were a little older we would sit with them and have them write out these ideas on paper. I still have a few of these heartfelt lists in their childhood picture albums.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -St. Francis of Assisi from

We have such an incredible opportunity to show our children that change and new beginnings bring forth a healthy progression in life. It leads to meeting new people, brings about brain stimulation, creates diversity and truly feeds the soul. Make your dreams known to your child, talk about them, take steps to make them happen and then celebrate when one is on the horizon. There is nothing that builds up our pride more than encompassing a goal or realizing a dream than possibly observing the delight of our children when they attain theirs. Listen to the heart of your child when they contemplate dreams, help them facilitate them, encourage and support their paragons even when you may feel they are outlandish or even impossible.

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” -T.S.Elliot from New Beginning Quotes

I like what this quote by T.S. Elliot resonates, as often endings are brought on by a loss or change. Adults as well as children occasionally have difficulty accepting or transitioning though these endings and when given a spin of positive energy it can make all the difference in the world. The uncertainty of a child starting a new school or day care, changes in parental standing or living situation, the loss of someone close etc. all warrant anxiety and hesitation for a child. I am intrigued by a child that seems to have an intrinsic sense of experiencing a new activity as a challenge or adventure. When this happens I am almost always witness to a family that also has that talent in their repertoire.

“The beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression more readily taken.” -Plato from The Republic

Assisting children in the transformation of endings and beginnings is very important in their development. This comfort when given will help a child develop the skills to make adaptation to new situations calmer. Even as adults we like a heads up to something new. We like to know that we are on top of what is to come! It is natural when facing the unknown. Inclusion and transitioning for children of all ages is critical for success in many learning and social situations. Make sure you are aware of implementing an applicable transition schedule whenever possible. We acclimate our children in the day care for a few weeks before an actual classroom move is made. Variable time is always considered depending on the personality and social ability of the child. Being aware of this difference should dictate how changes are introduced at home and at school. Communication should reflect the child’s primary modality form of learning.

“May the dreams of your past be the reality of your future.” -Author Unknown Life is about the freedom to encompass our dreams. I am thankful for my parents, grandparents, family and friends that have always encouraged me to step out in faith and pursue my aspirations. I reflect on the blessings as well as the challenges that I have had the opportunity to experience. It is with mixed emotions that I depart Heritage Ministries and the incredible staff, children, residents and families I have had the privilege to share time with. May God’s blessings in 2012 bear a year of new beginnings, dreams reached, and transformation for us all.

“All glory comes from daring to begin.” -Eugene F. Ware from

Mary Ellen Carlson has extensive experience in Elementary Education. Before assuming the duties as Director of Heritage House Childcare & Learning Center, she taught at Panama Central School, owned and operated her own home day care, and was the Project Coordinator of “Write Team,” a grant-funded project at the James Prendergast Library.



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