As we are getting ready for a new school year, it is important for us to think about the first impressions we make on our children, their parents, and our coworkers.

I was reminded of this critical truth this past week before I did the Keynote for the Michigan Lutheran Early Childhood Conference.  When I was first contacted by Travis, the Superintendent of the Lutheran School District in Michigan, I was impressed by his kindness as he tried to make my experience pleasant and demonstrated his concern to provide a quality professional development opportunity for his early childhood teachers. It was heartwarming to witness his sensitivity toward me as well as his teachers.  We had been communicating by email for over a year, making sure the theme, times, and arrangements were all going to work well.  Each of these interactions was positive and helpful.

I knew this was going to be an amazing conference because of the first impressions we had established in our communications.

When I arrived in Lansing, Michigan, Travis picked me up at the airport–smiling and helpful–and delivered me to my hotel. The next morning his wife, a delightful kindergarten teacher, drove me to the conference site.  I found that the early childhood teachers attending the conference were excited about the New Year, responsive to my invitations to participate, and filled with joyful expectations for their young children. We talked, shared a meal together, and told early childhood stories that made us laugh.

My positive anticipation for this conference was set by my first impressions of Travis. The teachers, the conference, and the setting were wonderful, just as I knew it would be.

Remember: When we first meet our children, talk to their parents, or join your coworkers, their first impressions of us will be established by our helpful words, personal warmth, and supportive behaviors.  Start off positively and keep the flow going!

Have a wonderful year and celebrate your creative young children!