I’m not exactly the type of person who would ever desire to run a day care. I shy away from most organized play group-type children’s activities. And I can’t ever imagine myself a school teacher. Although neighbor children are always present (and welcome) in our home and babysitting for a friend is often in my schedule, I don’t typically surround myself with too many other children besides my own.
Last month, I began a new assignment in my church. I have gone from spending forty minutes every other week teaching the Bible to adults, to now keeping tabs on 60+ children for two hours each week. It is as different as night and day…
I have seen nose picking, I have seen potty dances, I have seen poor behavior, I have seen tears, I have seen a giant booger stuck to the front of a beautiful dress, I have smelt stinky breath, I have touched sticky, dirty hands, etc. etc. etc.
And I have been doing some quiet reflection.
The last time I was in there, I looked back at my now nine-year-old boy. He was sitting quietly, contently and focused on the speaker. I thought back to a few years ago, when he was just five years old. Somebody that worked closely with him cornered me at a social gathering one evening and began to list every inappropriate action and comment my son had done or said during his time with her. Nothing was of any serious nature; it was just very typical boy stuff. However, the (one-sided) conversation left me feeling very discouraged and honestly, a little bit angry.
As mothers, we owe it to each other to love each other’s children. (And oh boy, do I know how difficult that is; I mean heavens above, it is hard enough to like my own children all of the time.) I thought back to a lady who worked closely with my son at the same time as ‘the other lady’, who frequently said to me, “I just love him. He has a personality and he truly loves life.”
Isn’t that a nice way to describe a child who may not always be the perfect-sit-still-and-listen-to-the teacher type?
Last week, I removed my focus from my son and looked around the room. I saw YOUR children. Some had their hands pestering their neighbors, and some had their hands quietly in their laps, some children were sitting nicely on their chairs, others were acting like a monkey at the zoo. I was looking at my children and I was looking at your children. And as a mother, I committed to love them all a little more.
(Now somebody, please quickly pass me the hand sanitizer…)
Question: What can you do to show a little more love to a child that may not be the easiest child to love?
Challenge: Find something positive about a ‘difficult child’ and find an opportunity to tell the child and the child’s parent.