One East Texas elementary school teacher is taking the lessons she's been teaching her students for more than 30 years and is now sharing them with all of us.
My kindergarten teacher, Evelyn Addis of Canton, recently sat down with me to share the message of her new book, "Monday Morning Leadership for Kids."
Mrs. Addis has taught me many lessons over the years, including how to be a good person - and now, in her first children's book, she's sharing some of those lessons with others.
"You are not too little to be a good driver of your character," Addis read to her class.
Addis adapted "Monday Morning Leadership for Kids" from the adult book by the same name.
In the book, eight-year-old Baxter takes a Monday morning trip with his Paw Paw - and along the way, Paw Paw teaches Baxter eight character attributes, including making good choices, being obedient to those responsible for you, doing the right thing when it's hard, having friends who help you be a better person, using your time wisely and completing all tasks, being a bucket filler and not a bucket dipper, and staying in the learning zone.
They are lessons Addis teaches her class by giving each student a key and a driver's license.
"When you turn your keys in first and tomorrow you turn your driver's license in, that means you did something wrong," said kindergarten student Isaac Gebert.
"Young children want to know what do you want me to know? And this book, to me, it gives them exactly what we are striving for every day, just to build better citizens," Addis said.
Addis developed the story with her class last year, but it wasn't until art teacher Matt Loughmiller joined the project that Paw Paw and Baxter came to life.
"I just tried to imagine a place that I would like to live - small town and nostalgia," Loughmiller said. "And I tried to make Paw Paw look friendly and Baxter look like a kid, but a teddy bear."
Addis and Loughmiller both hope this will become a teaching tool that teachers, parents, and grandparents will use time and time again.
"This is not a book that you read just one time to a child and put it on the shelf," Addis said. "It is a book to be read over and over and over so that these character attributes are instilled in these young children."
Addis says she hopes the book becomes a coffee table book in a lot of homes so it's easy for children to learn the eight character attributes.
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