Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt and Children Everywhere

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cchoneycuttI found a fresh little breeze in Alabama’s sweltering heat reading Beth Hoffman’s Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt. This best-seller is about a 12 year old girl facing more of life’s problems than anyone should have to face in a lifetime. While Cee Cee found solace in her books, what saved her were a handful of deeply compassionate, loving women who took the time to share their wisdom, life lessons, and hopes with a little girl. Cee Cee was saved, yes. But I think the adults in this little story were saved as well.  To live life in a manner that offers redemption for others is a life that appeals to me. So, it’s not surprising that this little book reminded me that I should share what wisdom, life lessons, and hopes I have.

Heart-and-soul teaching makes all the mind-and-matter teaching possible. Cee Cee’s ladies knew that.  Do teachers understand that?

Heart-and-Soul Teaching Methods

The ladies in Cee Cee Honeycutt’s life were teachers. Not the classroom kind, with chalk and papers. These ladies could ensure learning in ways that might make the regular classroom teacher sit up and take note. Here are a few methods used by the ladies that saved Cee Cee Honeycutt.

  1. Discuss difficult topics on her timetable, not yours.
  2. When she suggests something really crazy to do, do it with her.  Unbegrudgingly.
  3. Respect her privacy, but don’t allow it to become her escape.
  4. Bring her things that she might value, but that you value as well. And tell her why you are giving them to her.
  5. Take her places she’s never been. Don’t just tell her about them. Go there.
  6. Listen to her. Not just her words, but everything she says with her silence.
  7. Correct her, but never be harsh. Let love be your motive for everything you do for her.
  8. Show her how to treat others by how you treat others. She will definitely notice.
  9. Challenge her, forgive her, provide for her, praise her successes, and allow her room to fail.
  10. Trust her with your secrets. Never divulge hers.

If I am really in the business of saving kids from life without wisdom, life lessons, and hope, then I have a lot of work to do. It’s easy to hope someone else will be the heart-and-soul teacher to a child and let us work on the mind-and-matter stuff. But in the absence of those heart-and-soul teachers, our nation’s children are learning facts without purpose. We know they don’t stick. So what should I do? Maybe I will print the 10 heart-and-soul teaching methods and paste it to my computer screen. If I can stick those methods in my head, I might have more success sticking lessons in theirs!

What’s the best heart-and-soul teaching method ever used by a wise adult on you? I’d love to hear the story of who saved you. Thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt and Children Everywhere

  1. Shelly Burns says:

    What a great post! I just found your blog, through a Twitter post about this article, and I’m going to subscribe so I can read more of your wisdom. As a fellow educator myself, elementary asst. principal, your thoughts are provoking. I definitely need to add this book to my list of “must reads.”

    I had a teacher that more or less saved me. I always loved school, but in 2nd grade, this teacher made me love it for my career. She is the reason I do what I do and your post helped to remind me of that. She wasn’t just a pen and paper teacher, but a heart and soul one as well. She was great at teachable moments. She didn’t always do what was required, but want we wanted or needed at the time.

    Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth Hoffman says:

    What a delightful surprise. As the author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, I am deeply moved by your post. It is inspiring and thought provoking and has touched me in ways I can’t adequately articulate. Thank you for reading my novel.

    Teachers and librarians hold such a special place in my heart, and I’m so glad I happened to come across your blog.


  3. Jennifer Barnett says:

    Thank you so much for the kind words (Shelly and bermudaonion). And a giant shout out to Beth Hoffman for commenting on this post! Wow, talk about cool. Who has the author of their fav summer read comment on their blog? (I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve bragged about it on Facebook!) I’m truly honored.

    I see teaching and learning in everything around me. CeeCee taught me so much about what it takes for a child to be ready to learn. A friend at church told me that she actually taught a little girl named CeeCee Honeycutt. I told her that one day, I hope we all do.

    Thanks again.


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