2 Don’t Get So Upset!
Early Emotional Memories Last Forever
Very early one morning, at the conclusion of a national conference,
I shared a taxi to the airport with a colleague, another early child-
hood teacher educator. We discussed what I would be writing about
in my next book. I shared that my topic was how teachers’ emo-
tions affect their interactions with children, especially in response
to what they consider challenging behaviors. She was silent for a
moment and then said reflectively, “I often think that people who
work with young children have been emotionally wounded when
they were children themselves. It’s almost as if they have chosen the
profession of early care and education because of that.” I thought
about what she said and recognized that through the years as a
teacher and professor I certainly have learned and come to under-
stand much about my own childhood experiences and inner self
through observing and interacting with children and their families.
As part of the ongoing process of exploring my inner life, I have
learned to notice patterns of thought or feelings, and when or how
they occur, so that I might understand myself better. For example,
I have realized that I swing between feelings of being in and out of
confidence. Knowing my confidence state is a good barometer for
me. It helps me to know how to take on a challenge or survive a
Understanding myself certainly enhances and enriches my life.
But this is not the only reason I have undertaken this exploration.
At one point in my early twenties I realized that my interactions
and behaviors with young children could affect them for the rest of
their lives. At the time I was reading Haim Ginott’s book Between
Parent and Child: New Solutions to Old Problems (Ginott 1969)
for a child psychology course. It was while I was reading about