A Lesson Stitched

Yesterday my soon-to-be teenager kindergardener, brought home her first note from the teacher.  I don’t mean a snack calendar or bake sale sign up…I mean a real note.  An “incident” had occurred.  We all sat around the living room, very quiet and serious, as my husband read it aloud.

A Lesson Worth A Thousand Stitches 01

During nap time, the children each rest on their own cot.  The cots are covered with little cotton sheets, held down at the corners by lengths of 1/4″ elastic.  My little stinker couldn’t resist tug-tug-tuuugging on the elastic, despite being asked several times by Teacher to leave it alone.  Sure enough, it ripped.

And rather than scold or punish, wonderful Mrs. K. turned this into one of those childhood mistakes that offer the child an opportunity to step up, to acknowledge their fault and rectify it on their own.  Nora offered to mend the tear with tape.  Nope, says Teacher, tape won’t work.  It needs to be sewn.  I can only image the excitement on my daughter’s face as she suddenly remembered that Santa brought her a sewing machine for Christmas, and that this was indeed a mistake she could fix….she would mend it herself.

A Lesson Worth A Thousand Stitches 02

That evening, as I cooked dinner, she got out her little mini Singer for the first time.  She took out her little pin cushion and her little flower pins (gladly donated from Mama Hen’s pin cushion), and low and behold, she pinned and stitched on that elastic all by herself, folded it, and proudly tucked it in her backpack.

A Lesson Worth A Thousand Stitches 03

I’m excited for her next day of school.  Can’t wait to watch her walk in, hang up her coat, and hand that mended sheet back to her teacher with more pride and sincerity than any lecturing or scolding could have possibly achieved.  All thanks to a fabulous teacher…and a needle & some thread.  :)


  1. What a fabulous little story and such a wonderful thing for her to do, my Dad gave me a piece of advice years ago that has stood by me through thick and thin……. Take responsibility for your actions ! And do you know what it works, I don’t blame anyone for my mistakes, I own up to them and take responsibility, which means I can always say sorry and mean it and I make my own destiny, it has taught me respect for others and for myself. It is too easy to walk away or blame others.

    K x

  2. Oh, what a great story! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Deborah French says:

    Oh – thank is so precious!!! What a wonderful teacher, and what an amazing child! To be able to step up like that and take charge of the situation – WOW!! You must be so proud!! It also reflects on you and your husband. You have obviously raised a very smart and confident young lady. Kuddos to all of you!!! Thanks for sharing with us!!

  4. That is sooooo precious!! I love in the pics how little sister helped her!!

  5. Love it! I love it when children are taught to be responsible for their actions, it doesn’t happen enough these days, so often parents step in and solve the issue for them. Sounds like a great teacher (and great parents for giving her a sewing machine for Christmas!).

  6. SueK aka the 'ole chook' says:

    What a truly lovely teacher – one who teaches – and you and hubby have also taught her very well. She is so good and brave to have stood up and accepted responsibility and it will be something she will always remember as to how she was able to fix it herself, and the work involved will be a reminder for when fingers get itchy to – not – pick pick :o))

  7. Thank you so much for sharing a great memory of Nora’s. I did so enjoy it and show will truly remember this one much longer than her teacher will suspect.

  8. Those children, and ultimately, our society, are so lucky to have such a gifted and super special teacher!!
    – Tabatha at BendingPins.com

  9. What a fantastic story! Kudos to her mommy for instilling the sewing gene in dear Nora!

  10. Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment in your family’s life. You are truly blessed. I’ve never been a fan of blogs etc but since meeting you, through your course last year, I eagerly await the next installment in your hectic and eventful life.

  11. What a great story, but scarey to have to face the music and have Dad read it aloud!! Love the story and just love the photo of those precious hands!!

  12. Great story, and Nora’s maturity in the situation is to be commended. The little brat in me though, wants to point out that the teacher needs to brush up on her spelling skills. Handel is the composer. Nora needed to handle the situation, (which clearly she did with a loving heart.)

  13. I love to hear stories of teachers who take extra time with their students. And kudos to you for spending the time to teach your daughter how to fix a problem she made. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I only wish the teacher had spelled “handles” properly…lol

  14. What a fabulous story. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  15. Absolutely fabulous story. I love teachable moments and the fact that she repaired it all by herself is fantastic. Now I’m betting she’ll leave it alone because she won’t want to ruin all her hard work.

  16. Oh I love it, perfect solution!

  17. Thanks for sharing Amy! What a great letter to keep in her scrapbook. Her teacher sounds great.

  18. What an amazing lesson for us all! Thank you to Mrs. K and to your lovely daughter for reminding me to ‘own’ my stuff!

  19. What a wonderful story! She has a super teacher for sure. As I sit reading this post in tears…I feel the same pride I am sure you felt. How did you sit back and just watch her? I would have been eager to fix it myself…but her little hands and determination to right her wrong got her through. I hope her teacher is as proud as all of us!

  20. Thank you for sharing Nora’s experience. It is such a valuable reminder to adults who might be tempted to fix the mistake for their child rather than allowing them to do it themselves.

  21. so nice to see that the teacher actually wrote out a note – wrote it–not an email!!! you should send a photo along with your daughter so the teacher can see that she actually did sew it with a machine and that you didn’t do it. I’m almost more impressed that the teacher wrote the note — that seems to be so rare now days – my grand-children’s teachers do everything with e mail it seems.

  22. awww, definitely a keeper. I wonder what Nora will say about it when she can verbalize this lesson? A lot of wisdom on the teacher’s part to encourage and teach from a disobedient act into a growing and learning experience.

  23. Sew, Nora, sew!

  24. I absolutely love it! And what a great teacher, really!

  25. Love it! That will be something you always remember. Sweet.

  26. julie knouse says:

    Good for y’all for supporting her teacher and following through at home!

  27. Becky Greene says:

    What a great story!! My heart needed a little warming :-)

  28. What a wonderful teacher! and even better that she was able to stand up for her mistake and fix it herself and did a great job at it!

  29. What a great story and teacher, thank you for sharing!! I think I learned a lesson today too…

  30. What a great lesson for her and what a wonderful teacher to recognize it and allow her to really learn.

  31. What a wonderful story! This one needs to be posted on Facebook for teachers (and parents) everywhere to read.

  32. Incredible! Praise the lord for good teachers! And the determination on your little’s face is a sweet as can be. What a lovely read!

  33. same as everyone else said, great story…but ‘like’ to those pointing out the spelling error. Saw that right away…and it should definitely be brought to the attention of that teacher!!!! Shameful!

    • I’m not so worries about it. It’s only pre-school, after all, and I’m sure she had her hands full with a room full of kids at nap time and still took the time to write this note. If we were all judged on accidental spelling errors made in haste, I think I’d be serving life in prison! :)

      • I’m just impressed that the teacher took the time to “write” rather than “type” and that she used cursive, neat cursive to boot! I’ve heard rumblings that some day schools aren’t even going to be teaching children cursive any more. How in the world are they going to have a unique signature if they aren’t taught cursive?!

  34. Lucky little one to have such a great teacher!

  35. Hurrah!

  36. Marisol Cuevas says:

    Perfect example of parent/teacher working together.. Remember those wonderful childhood days…

  37. Debbie Simmons says:

    What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!

  38. Great lesson. I chuck;ed when I saw the look on your younger daughter face. She looked like she was about to use the scissors on her hair.
    By the way. I loved the first block we did this month. Settled on yellow and blue.

  39. I did not read the other comments, but this brought tears to my eyes. Being a teacher, those moments where a student can learn from their mistakes and genuinely rectify with consideration and thought! Being a mom (with hightened emotions with our second on the way), this makes me happy to think that there are other teachers out there who still seek those ‘learning opportunities’ rather than automatically jumping to the lecture and scolding! :)

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! :)

  40. Now that teacher ROCKS!!! Being a teacher, it fills my heart with joy when I hear a fellow teacher is teaching accountability and responsibility. In addition, it is so important to have supportive parents like you working as a team with the teacher. You ROCK as well!! I am so proud of your daughter, too! Fabulous story to start the day.

  41. That’s just awesome. Wonderful lesson learned.

  42. Sharon Brennan says:

    Great lesson!! So many children’s parents these days would have gone out and purchased a new sheet. Like CathyK said “accountability and responsibility.”

  43. Good for Nora (and her teacher and you)! I’m sure you are just as proud of her as she is of herself. I wish my 2 teenage girls could sew as well as Nora! Hope the rest of the family is doing well.

  44. This is such a great little story. Thank you for sharing.

  45. What an awesome teacher. No amount of screaming and yelling would have solved the problem. The teacher used the episode as a teaching opportunity as well as a learning experience for Nora.

  46. Renee Kahnke says:

    So Cute!! I hope you save the note from the teacher, I still have one fron 30 yrs ago when my youngest forged his dads name on a paper and gave to his KGN teacher. He wrote DaD across the whole paper, his teacher Miss Castles had to leave the room to compose her laughter, then just asked him to retake the note home.She told me he was the youngest student to try that:)

  47. Priceless!!

  48. What a wonderful teacher and what a clever girl to accept responsibility and fix the problem. Kids are never going to be perfect, but you have every right to be proud of your little stinker. :)

    My son has Asperger Syndrome, and finds it extremely difficult to take ownership of the outcomes of his behaviour as he cannot connect cause and effect and often is unable to realise that he has actually done wrong.

  49. Way to go Mom! You, the teacher and Nora are wonderful for all working together. How refreshing. :)

  50. Great story Amy. Your “little stinker” sounds like she is on the path to being a wonderful young lady, and she is soooo lucky to have a great teacher. I’m sure you and hubby struggled not to chuckle about the whole thing in front of her. Serious stuff, being that age.

  51. Great family story you’ll remember for years.

  52. What a great story! I am so glad she’s learning to sew early and I am sure Teacher will be impressed! :-)

  53. What a great teacher! It is good to learn early on to accept responsibility and correct our mistakes. It sounds like a lesson that will stay with her always! You’ve an awesome little “stinker”!

  54. Brenda Caplette says:

    What a wonderful learning experience. What are the chances that the teacher knew that this little angel could sew? It would be worth a million $$’s to see the teacher’s face when she finds out that your sweet angel did indeed “sew it” herself. She has had a great mentor her whole little life. :)

  55. That is awesome!!! Having taught Kindergarten for 30 years…….You gotta love her teacher!! I love the little problem solver that she is as a student!!

  56. MOM! love hearing stories about your kids! My cousin used to write about my brother and I and publish it in her column! oh joy!!!! keep a copy of your post for her scrapbook, priceless!!!!!

  57. Beverly Cotton says:

    What a cute story! My granddaughter (8 yrs. old) loves making fashion items for her dolls & even made a Dresden Plate block during the BOM, & a few others. She also got her first sewing machine from us for Christmas. When i bought a new Janome, she got my old yard sale Kenmore, we picked up for $5, cabinet and all. Now she says, ” I need one I can carry around!” She is like your daughter but likes to create with tape or staples to put things together. She cracks us all up – but it’s all good & it works. Her mom was tempted to wrap up a box of different tapes & staples for Christmas but decided on 6 rolls of the new wild printed tapes. What a hit!

  58. Well, good for her! That was so much more productive than giving her a telling off. I must try and remember to do the same………. ;o)

  59. I am 75 and I got to learn to sew on my mother’s treadle machine. It was not easy working the treadle standing up, but I did it. And I have always been so glad my mother let me do that. Loved how Nora took charge of the situation. Hope you send us what the teacher had to say about the repaired sheet.

  60. oops! I left out the information that I was not quite 5 when she let me sew. It was an outfit for my dolly.

  61. I love moments like these with children. She is certainly taking after her MOM.

  62. Precious! Great lesson! Confidence builder! Problem solver! Acorn doesn’t fall too far from the tree! Weeeeeeee!

  63. And if the teacher doubts who actually sewed it, you have pics to back it up. My girls never showed an interest to learn to sew or want a sewing machine til they were out of the house. In college, Jess asked for a sewing machine. So, great inspiration for your girls “to be like mom” and appreciate the craft.

  64. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing! Is one of those healing-spirit stories. A lot of lessons from it, for everyone who participated.

  65. Judie Harron says:

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. Like mother, like daughter I’d say. When my granddaughter visited this summer, she sewed her first seam on my Singer Featherweight… she was so excited! Can’t wait until this summer when we start her first quilt together.

  66. She looks so determined and will take great pride in it :) Thanks for sharing!!!

  67. First, I love the name Nora. It’s antique, and elegant, and beautiful just like your little girl. I’m interested to know the rest of the story. Did the teacher realize she repaired it herself? Was it a good enough job to hold the elastic or did you have to tackle it after she went to bed? I can just imagine her thoughts, “It’s no big deal if it breaks because I know how to fix it!” What a wonderful confidence that brings to a child. She is learning to handle life rather than letting life handle her. And kudos to you too mom – she has that knowledge because you are sharing something invaluable and precious with her. I see too many parents today with their nose in an iPad while their children are ignored.

  68. Beverly Cotton says:

    I was just thinking about what a year Nora’s teacher will have! Your daughter will probably give her a run for her money! Lol The really smart children, like her, keep the teachers on their toes and most of those children finish their work quickly & correctly. “Gifted” is a word that my daughter never liked but that was the program she was in. I’m sure your daughter is too. I was an elementary Art teacher, for 20 years, PreK-5 and children like Nora are such a delight to have in class & to teach! :-). You have opened her doors to “sew” much. She is so lucky you are her Mom!

  69. You are reaping what you SEW! Obviously little Nora is watching Mom….teachers and
    parents are leaders. Your teaching Nora to use her creativity to solve life’s problems!

  70. What a wonderful classroom teacher. Many other preschool and daycare teachers could learn from her. Thanks for sharing the story with us. Also where do you find a sewing machine for young children? I want one for my granddaughter.

  71. What an absolutely wonderful learning situation. I’m so impressed by how this was handled on all sides.

  72. When my oldest, now with two little ones of his own was in second grade, he let some older boys influence him to write bad words on the fogged windows of the bus. The principal told me that he was suspended from riding the bus for a week. Who did that punish? Yes, me, the working mother who had to be at work in the opposite direction way before he had to be at school, and no you cannot bring them early. So , I suggested a punishment that would be more meaningful to him and also to get his attention that he had been naughty. I took a large bottle of windex and several rolls of paper towels and him to the bus depot and made him wash EACH and EVERY window on the bus to the satifaction of the bus manager. He never EVER did it again and realized that there were consequences for his actions that he had to deal with. When my youngest boy threw papers in the cafeteria the school again called, but this time they knew me well enough to know that suspension was not going to be the answer with me. He had to pick up EACH and EVERY paper and piece of garbage in the cafeteria after lunch the next day. In the company of the janitor he helped mop and clean the place. I strongly believe that if kids don’t learn to accept responsibility for their actions, they will never learn life’s lessons. P.S. The youngest is now a decorated State Trooper.

  73. Such a wonderful story you shared. Teachers rock! We need more teachers with the outlook as this one has. Your daughter will likely remember this a one of those “life lessons”

  74. How precious! When did she start sewing? My granddaughter is going to be 3 in April and I can’t wait to sew with her.

  75. ‘thanks for sharing. What a confidant young lady. This will take her far, fixing her own mistakes. We have a five year old grandson having issues at Grade Primary/Kindergarten. Wish he would learn to stand up and fess up. So many parents today try to fix things instead of letting their children be accountable. I have heard that parents now think it is okay to go with their grown children for job interviews? Now really. Keep up the good work Amy. You have an adorable family.

  76. I love this story! I’ve printed it off for my daughter to read. She is
    currently doing her student teaching in Kindergarten. Every moment is a teachable moment!!

  77. That is awesome Amy. What a great lesson learned and I’m so proud of Nora!

  78. OK, that is really wonderful! She’s learned to trust when somebody warns of a possible problem from her actions, to take ownership of problems she creates, to make good on something she’s done, and can model the reaction of not freaking out when something bad happens, but to handle the situation positively instead. Very cool :)

  79. I am a retired teacher after 30 yrs of teaching! You are wise to”SEE”a great teacher in this situation rather than take a defensive posture by thinking “How dare this teacher scold my child or ask her to repair school property” Trust me, over the course of 30 yrs my parents responded more like the defensive posture rather than respecting the teacher for making similar situations teachable moments. Your daughter learned much more than how to repair a torn sheet and You Mama, have my undying respect for having that teacher’s back!! More parents could take a lesson or two from you and your little angel!! I’m giving you a Bog Ol HIGH FIVE all the way from Alabama and from this old teacher’s heart!!! Please give your child’s teacher my admiration!!
    Gmama Jane

  80. Wonderful story. I would like to hear what the teacher said when she bro’t the sheet back!

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