Guest Blogger: Shaneil “PJ” Yarbrough – AECA President Elect

A Handful of Matches

Mary’s demonstration of one match being easily broken versus a handful of matches being unbreakable made a lasting impression. An early-90s TV movie, “A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story” featured a single mother with nine children in a rough, Chicago neighborhood.

During the scene, she gathered her children for a life-lesson. At first, she took one match and snapped it in half. Then she took a handful of matches and tried to do the same – she was unsuccessful. The words to her children were, “Together, we’re strong!” Mary’s youngest son, Isiah Thomas III, became one the greatest players in the history of the NBA, leading the Detroit Pistons to two championships. While he had countless coaches, Isiah gives his mother the credit for establishing the true meaning of Teamwork.

The value of teamwork in the Early Childhood (EC) Community is two-fold. As professionals work together and with families, children’s outcomes are positively influenced. Secondly, children learn from observing their environments and imitating the actions of adult leaders. Building collaborative relationships takes time, effort, and attention. We must appreciate each member of the team and welcome the knowledge, experience, or expertise that each person has to offer. The reward will be enhanced, quality Early Childhood programs. As Early Childhood professionals, let’s see ourselves as a handful of matches instead of one single match. Not only will we be stronger, but our light will shine much, much brighter!

Shaneil “PJ” Yarbrough is a Regional Trainer for University of Arkansas, ECEP in El Dorado, Arkansas

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