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Home » Dr. Annie's Compass Points, Featured, Teacher Talk

The Kissing Hand: February Compass Point

Submitted by on February 14, 2011 – 7:41 AM2 Comments
The Kissing Hand: February Compass Point

February is the Valentine month, so how can you help your children understand and celebrate this special time of the year.  There are some great children’s books that are classic in showing unconditional love. One of my favorites is titled The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn.  In this best selling book, Chester the Raccoon is about to start his first day at School.  Mother Raccoon is a wise mother.  She knows that her little Chester feels unsure about leaving her.  Going to school for the first time surely can be frightening for not only the child, but also for the parent.  Mother Raccoon shares a family secret with Chester.  She gently kisses his paw.  She tells him that he has that kiss from his mother to take with him all day.  And if Chester starts to feel sad, lonely, worried or any other uncomfortable feeling, he can press his paw to his cheek and know that he has his mother’s kiss with him.   The message in this book is a powerful one that transcends many decades.  Knowing that our family members think about us and care about us when we are physically in different places is the meaning of unconditional love.  Let me tell you a true story about my own child and the power of the kiss in her hand.  Courtney was in the third grade and she wanted very much to be in the school chorus.  She practiced singing the audition song for several weeks.  It was a difficult one to sing, our national anthem,  The Star Spangled Banner!  I dropped her off at school on the day of the chorus tryouts.  She was very anxious about the audition process.  It was her first time ever singing for a competitive position, but she knew the song and could sing it on key quite well.  Before she got out of the car, I made sure she had a special kiss from her mom in her hand.  I told my precious daughter to remember that my love was right there in her palm and I was so proud of her.  I would be thinking of her all day!  I couldn’t wait to pick her up after school that day!  I just knew she was going to be smiling from ear to ear!

But that afternoon I did not see smiles.  I saw a little blond haired cherub with teary eyes.  My little one then told me that the audition has been terrible.  She had practiced the wrong song.  She was supposed to learn My Country Tis of Thee.  The music teacher would not let her sing the song she had practiced.  She had become so scared she was trembling and the teacher told her to “at least, try to hum My Country Tis of Thee.”  The whole audition ended up being far less than I ever imagined.  I told my daughter that I was so sorry that it had been so difficult.   The she looked at me with her big hazel eyes and said, “I just put your kiss on my cheek and I felt so much better. I made it through the rest of the day.”

Valentine’s Day with all its hearts and flowers is truly a reminder that we can plant hearts and flowers in the lives of those we love every day of the year.  Read this beloved book to your children and think of the many ways that you can send your love with them as they leave home every day.  Maybe it’s a kiss.  Maybe it’s a hug.  Maybe it’s a sticky note in their lunch bag or in their coat pocket.  We all need unconditional love.

Just as a foot note, Courtney later became a member of the middle and high school band and chorus.  She plays the piano, flute, and piccolo and was a college dance major.  The valentine I wish for her is that my readers will offer a special prayer for her future.  In just a few weeks she will audition to be a performer for Cirque du Soleil!

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  • Dr. Annie says:

    Actually the true name of the song that Courtney practiced is “America the Beautiful!” Just wanted readers to know that. Today my grown daughter had something disturbing happen in her life, and right now I am sending her my kiss in the hand via e-mail. I hope it will bring her the peace she needs on this very day! Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

  • Dear Dr. Annie,

    The girls and I are waiting for our copy of “The Kissing Hand” at Melbourne Beach Public Library! They are very excited to read it!! (I am, too!)

    There is nothing more soothing to a child than a mother’s love. I remember this often as a child and love that I am able to now share it with my girls. One of my favorite things in life is to love and hold my family. Last week I had Strep Throat; you don’t realize how much you kiss your family until you can’t. Luckily I am better now and I am able to kiss away;)!

    As always, thank you so much for your amazing contribution!! Please send Courtney our love…we will say many prayers for her.

    Lots and lots of love,
    Lori, Madi and Hailey