Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Veteran's Day Response: Song & Patriotic Process Art for Young Children

Veteran's Day is just around the corner!

Veteran's Day is an abstract concept for young children. How can you make it more concrete? To begin with: focus on our flag and patriotism. Have them create their own open-ended, process-driven 'fireworks' as a foundation experience. 

Painted Fireworks in Kindergarten

What does America mean to our little ones? 

Where do we live? What is the name of our country? What do we celebrate as a country? How do we celebrate? How do we protect our freedoms? How do we thank those who have served to protect our freedoms?

Red, White and Blue by Debbie Clement

One of my absolute pleasures is to make school visits as an author-illustrator, music-lady. Sometimes my visit is a one-time special event. I'm even more fortunate when my visit to a school includes a return visit. Sometimes I get asked back repeatedly over time. My longest running annual visit belongs to St. Paul School in Westerville, Ohio. 

We have all lost track as to how many years I have visited the kindergarten classes. We think it could be the last 12 or thirteen years now. That's a lot of LUV and support from some of my favorite Kindergarten teachers! Take a peek and get a glimmer of my welcome last spring. 

These fireworks were created by the Kinder-kiddos of Mrs. Holly Rose. They were proudly hanging outside her door, in the school hallway last May in time for my arrival. Imagine my excitement over such an enthusiastic welcome! 

Kindergarten Welcomes Author Illustrator

Her students have created this art in response to my newest picture book. 

My own patriotic response to September 11th, was to create a simple song for children to honor our country. It started as a little patriotic 'zipper' song -- with the very simple lyrics "Red, white and blue.... I love you." 

Over time my simple song grew just enough to be recorded at the studio and was included on my fourth CD. Ultimately we produced my song as a traditional picture book -- where the song's lyrics become the text of my newest picture book. 

Red, White and Blue Picture Book by Debbie Clement
Click on the book cover to go to my website

***Each of my three picture books are notorious for the "end matter" that I have included to support teachers use of my song in their classroom and especially for use as part of a performance. Each of my books includes a CD of the sung version of the song and an instrumental as well. There is a chart for sign language and also a chart for music notation. They can be ordered directly from me at my website:

Patriotic Picture Book

Take a listen on YouTube if you're not familiar with my song. Watch as teachers and librarians learn the sign language in real time -- at one of my conference workshop presentations. 

If you don't have time to order the book, or maybe you just want to get started RIGHT AWAY, then you can purchase the digital download version of the song in a zipped file through Teachers Pay Teachers. In the file you will receive two Mp3s of the song (sung & instrumental versions) as well as both the chart for sign language and that of music notation. I have lowered the price of the file right now! 

Click graphic for link to TpT digital download

Kindergarten Process Art as Fireworks

But let's get back to the creation of the fireworks artwork. 

In a true synchronicity of great minds thinking alike, my daughter, Sarah, had the children-in-her-care create very similar fireworks this past summer. She took photos in real-time and I think they will be a terrific step-by-step tutorial for you to replicate the experience for the children/students in your own life.

1. Gather up cardboard tubes ahead of time. (Internal rolls from paper towels, toilet paper, or those purchased specifically for crafting.)

2. Cut into the edge of the cardboard tubes in a variety of styles. {See the examples below for possibilities.}

Think of this as a very simple print-making experience.  

Art Process Painting with Young Children

  • Let the children experiment! 
  • Let them explore! 
  • Let them design! 
  • Let them plan!
  • Let them giggle! 
  • Let them construct!
  • Let them arrange!
  • Let them focus!  
  • Let them imagine!
  • Let them direct! 
  • Let them choose!
  • Let them concentrate!  
  • Let them initiate! 
  • Let them remember! 
  • Let them experience! 
  • Let them get messy!
  • Let them enjoy!   
  • Let them delight!!!

Painting with Young Children in Process, Open-Ended Style

Open-ended art is wonderful because EVERYONE is RIGHT!

Every creation is unique. Every piece is different. Every effort is valued. Every project is an original! Children can recognize their own art on display, because it is different than everyone else's!!! 

Painting Process with Young Children

The child at work below is only two years old and is experiencing excitement as he creates his own fireworks. This type of project can be as simple or sophisticated as each child's age and experience dictates. 

Process Art with Young Children, Creating Fireworks, Patriotic

***Sometimes with young children, you need to monitor their work so that it doesn't get 'flooded' with paint (in this example.) There are children that can just keep going and going and going and going only to realize that suddenly their beautiful effort is one big brown mound of matted material. Keep a watchful eye and bring closure to the project before the flood. 

Preschool Art Process Painting for Patriotic Fireworks

Here's  a glimpse of an earlier one of my author visits to St. Paul School and the patriotic 'marble painted' fireworks that were created for my visit on that occasion. This is another possibility for an open-ended, kinetic experiment in Art to respond to the concluding fireworks of my picture book!  

The all time LARGEST marble-painted, patriotic quilt award goes to Carie's Kindergarten class in Illinois! This is a mammoth cooperative effort -- all to celebrate America, and all things "Red, White and Blue!" 

Carie is now a Kindergarten teacher, but immediately after 9/11 she served for nine years of active duty in the US Army, including a year stationed in Iraq. She is a Veteran. She is to be celebrated on Veteran's Day. She gets what patriotism means. She wanted to be certain that her kinder kids understand about what America has always stood for around the world. {Click back here to see other specifics about this incredible project.} 

These types of colossal, open-ended art projects are all in response to a very simple lyric. Being the inspiration for such efforts is my most (humble) pride-filled contribution to the lives of children. 

I hope that you can use my song over the weeks ahead, to create a novel experience for the children you love.

Digital Version at TeachersPayTeachers

Meanwhile. We continue to accept Purchase Orders over at where we distribute the ORIGINAL alternative seating that moves! The stools are now available in anti-microbial plastic! (That means no germs linger on their surface.) PLUS they are manufactured here in the USA! Talk about patriotic! 

That's what they look like in use right there in Westerville! These are pictured across the hall from the fireworks display, in Kelly Grote's Kinder-room. After consideration, she has both 14" wobbles and others that are only 12" tall. Having both sizes available accommodates all heights of her students, especially helpful at the beginning of the year -- when there are indeed some 'shorties' in the room. 

Kinder depiction of Miss Debbie during author visit!

If you are interested in your own author visit, I would be thrilled to talk! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Family Separation, Childhood Trauma at the Border: The Bible Tells ME So!

Laura Bush and Debbie Clement on Zero-Tolerance and Family Separation

I stand with Laura Bush. 
I once stood with Mrs. Bush for this slightly less-than-one-minute photo-op at Frogstreet Press Splash. I stand with her once again. Mrs. Bush has written a brilliant, heartfelt op-ed piece in this past Sunday's edition of The Washington Post. Please take the time to read her entire opinion and then reflect on her insightful writing.

All five living first ladies of the United States are in agreement that they are against the current zero-tolerance policy at the border. Their description of separating children from their parents range from calling the policy heart breaking, immoral, and a disgrace to our country to a moral and humanitarian crisis. Mrs. Trump has issued an official statement that she "hates to see children separated from their families."

Let's be very clear that I am NOT a specialist in either immigration nor immigration policy. There are many ramifications in this complex issue that are beyond my understanding. What I do know for certain, is that taking young children from their parents is wrong. Period. 

The United Nations feels the same. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the separation of children from their parents at the United States-Mexico boarder as "unconscionable." And now the US, my country, has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council. 

Image result for un logo

What I do know for certain is that there are many long term issues that will result from such horrific and abrupt separations. The younger the child, the more likely that irreversible damage will be done to the developing architecture of the young brain of the tiny ones subjected to this trauma. [Read the American Academy of Pediatrics statement here.] 

But what really, truly broke my heart was to see our Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, quoting the Bible as support for this administration's zero tolerance policy. To see Sarah Huckabee Sanders also referemce the Bible in her press briefing has brought me to the point of taking action. 

What action do I have at my disposal? Taking a stand. Taking a stand for moral decency. Making my opinion public. Letting my voice be heard. Standing on the side of decency and morality. Standing on the right side of history. 

My blog. I can write an article. Compile a blog article. And so I will do my best. I will do my best to share other portions of scripture that offer broader insight into this crisis. 
Family Separation & Childhood Trauma at the Border
Suffer little children to come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of God. Luke 18:16

I don't use the term crisis lightly. If Mr. Sessions were to have continued his reading of Romans chapter thirteen, he would have come squarely to the crux of Christ's teachings for dealing with our fellow man. Instead he chose a singular passage, (known as proof texting), which he used to underscore his concept of what appears to me to be encouraging blind adherence to our government-- just because he used a verse in the Bible. And what do we do when we know that our government is wrong? 

[Interestingly, as I am typing this article and doing my research, I learn that Mr. Sessions is actually a member of the Methodist church. Just hours earlier today, over 600 Methodists have charged him with violating the church code of discipline. The complaint is signed by both pastors and church goers alike. I digress.] 

First. Let's take a look at just a dozen verses from the Bible that would contradict the conclusion that a single verse from Mr. Sessions lectern implied. Context is everything. 

Let's start with another verse, later within the same chapter of the book of Romans. "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." {Romans 13:10} I begin here, because it is just mere verses later than what our Attorney General quoted in his explanation of why the administration's policy must be adhered to. 


Childhood Trauma at the Border from Family Separation
"Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10 

The New Testament is filled to the brim with variations of the sentiment of what those unfamiliar with Biblical writings might quickly sum up as the 'Golden Rule.' Here in the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that "In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you." FOR THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE LAW."  Matthew 7:12

Jesus concludes his 'Sermon on the Mount' in the book of Matthew, with very specific teachings around real life: from the Beatitudes to the Lord's Prayer, this sermon is an entire encyclopedia of His direct instruction to His followers. 

Childhood Trauma at the Border: Family Separation
"In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the law." 

Later on in the book of Matthew, Jesus is being tested and is asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" He boils everything down in verses 37-39. 

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Zero-Tolerance Policy at the Border and Childhood Trauma
"Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39
And later in the book of Matthew, Jesus continues his teaching. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me....

Childhood Trauma & Zero Tolerance Policy at the Border
I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35 

Expanding further in the book of Matthew, we come to yet possibly the most significant verse as it applies from a New Testament perspective on the current situation at our border. These verses speak of compassion. It literally says, "When did we see you a stranger and invite you in? "Whatever you did for one of the least of these -- you did for me." 

37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Childhood Trauma at the Border from Zero Tolerance Policy
"Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me." Matthew 25: 40
Those at our southern border, seeking asylum are certainly the 'LEAST of these' and what are we as a people saying to these infants and children taken from their parents? Again, in the words of the UN: "unconscionable." 

Back to the Bible. From the Gospel of John, in the midst of The Last Supper, Jesus concludes the evening together with his disciples with, "A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." 

"A new commandment I give you: love one another as I have loved you." John 13:34 

I remember so many people quoting Hebrews 13: 2 to me over the span of my life. My grandma, a retreat host, pastors from the pulpit, my dad. It is a verse that I have always held close to my heart and had to guide my actions, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels unawares." 

I can see the twinkle in my friend Saint's eye as she would say, "You know, Angels unawares." It became a shorthand code between us. Angels unawares

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers..... angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2
The entire New Testament is strewn with practical, specific directives of how to treat the widow, the orphan, the Lord's people who are in need, the least of these, the sojourner in our midst. There is no doubt. We are called to act as the Good Samaritan acted. "And who is my neighbor?"  Luke 10:29

Another return to the Book of Romans. We are to "Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Angels unawares. 

Family Separation and Childhood Trauma from Zero Tolerance at the Border

Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus replied, “Feed My lambs.” 16Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord, he answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep. 17Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” “Lord, You know all things,” he replied. “You know I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep."    John 21:15-17

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  1 John 3:17 {English Standard Version}

If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him?1 John 3:17-18 {Berean Study Bible}

Let's conclude this brief overview of the basics of the New Testament with Jesus rebuke: "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." No matter which 'version' of the Bible you study or prefer, the meaning is completely clear: the Kingdom of God belongs to the child-like, the little children, the most vulnerable among us. 

That is a tidy little dozen New Testament passages that more clearly reflect MY understanding of faith, as understood through scripture in the Bible. 

Historically the human race has failed in epic chapters. As a nation we have failed historically. There is the genocide of our lands first inhabitants over centuries of the establishment of our country. There is the epoch era of slavery that was sanctioned and condoned. Most recently we have the blight of the Japanese internment camps. What have we learned as a nation? 

Listen in as Holocaust survivor, Yoka Verdoner recounts her own personal trauma at the hands of Nazi Germany. "Nazis separated me from my parents as a child. The trauma lasts a lifetime. What's happening in our own backyard today is as evil and criminal as what happened to me and my siblings as children in Nazi Europe."

Holocaust Survivor Quote in response to family separation

Yoka's article with greatly expanded thoughts and heart rending experience are detailed in this article. She currently is a retired teacher and psychotherapist now living in California. 
Top Seven Bible Verses About Strangers 

46 Bible Verses About Strangers 

Entire church bodies are crying out against this current practice at our border. Here is the ELCA Lutheran Church policy of rebuking zero-tolerance policy  This policy is signed by dozens of other denominations.

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and well being of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.  

As a member of the Methodist church, I wanted to be certain to include their official decree. Here is the faith statement of the Methodist church Council of Bishops rebuking of the zero-tolerance policy. Yes. The statements are one in the same, the framing and announcement slightly different. 

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he is strong. 
Yes. Jesus loves me. Yes. Jesus loves me.  Yes. Jesus loves me. 
Jesus loves me! This I know, as He loved so long ago. Taking children on His knee, Saying "Let them come to me." 
What can we do? Do you know of the non-profit Together Rising? Over one million dollars were raised in a flash-love-mob IN UNDER 9 HOURS, to go to a variety of legal entities helping to reunite families through the courts and agencies along the border. 

Read the updates of what is happening with our donations from their site directly at this link. If you are able to donate and want to do so directly, know that 100% of your donation goes to the mission of unification of families. 

Calling your political representatives is always a first step, but once your heart is opened -- it is appropriate to open your checkbook as well. This is a very simple way to donate using a credit card. You can designate if you want the donation to be recurring or a one time donation.

I have known Glennon Doyle and her work at Momestry for years. She is a NY Times best selling author, friend of Oprah with a heart of gold. Follow her on Instagram for daily inspiration and updates on the Flash Mob. 

Mr. Sessions, I hope that you read further as I pray you come to be enlightened on the impact of this policy on young children. 

***The images included in this article are primarily from photos that I have taken. I have added text via the app WordSwag and also at Picmonkey. The photo of the children's feet and the one of the rainbow over the mountain scenery were taken on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The children's feet were gathered together with giggles during my author/illustrator visit to Kindergarten. The sunsets and the cornfield rainbow are from my photos on the Wisconsin peninsula of Door County. 

12 Photographic Scripture Verses for Life's Challenging, Tough Times gathered by Debbie Clement

I have an earlier article here on my blog of another collection of significant scripture verses that have brought me through hard times. Ironically, it is in that article that I originally shared the photo of me with Laura Bush. 

Debbie Clement is a nationally award winning "music-lady" that has written and recorded over 100 original songs for young children. She has published three traditional picture books as author/illustrator -- where the lyrics of her songs become the text of her books. She travels internationally speaking to teachers at conferences on the significance of the Arts to early literacy. Making school and library visits is her favorite way to spend the day. She and her husband Allen have a tribe of seven grand-children.  Together they operate the distribution of alternative seating at where flexibility becomes an option for the classroom. Their home is amid the palm trees of Vero Beach, Florida and they spend their summers amid the pines of northern Wisconsin. 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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