This past semester I accepted a position providing childcare at a local Methodist church for two reasons. 1: To help make ends meet. And 2: I have found it a spiritual imperative to keep a connection with my community - outside and detached from my Adventist circle. It keeps my vision open, identifies local perceptions / needs, and freshens the religious aspect of my cultural competency.
I love my job there! The kids teach me so much!
Complex lessons in simple language.
Lessons of organization, gentleness, consistency, diplomacy, marketing, influence, transparency, stewardship... but most of all the lesson of redemptive love.
When they enter my room some are tired, some are bouncing, some are angry, some are excited, and some are quiet . And some are everything times 10. And each is brimming with potential.
They cook me fabulous plastic meals of shiken, swimp, special ingredients - and everything is covered in chocolate of course! They draw me pictures of their houses, tell me how old their parents are, and put plastic bugs in my hair.
I draw them story pictures, listen to their tall tales, join in car races, clean up spills, teach them how to pray, and read them my favorite children's books. It is my goal that each child will know thatI respect them as individuals and love them deeply... and that they will begin to know that God does too.
This past Sunday I had, at the fullest time, a total of 17 four-year-olds. I'll introduce you to one of them;
River has energy zinging inside of him like electrons around the nucleus! His bowl-cut hair follows his head to add emphatic emphasis for every sentence and his brain must function at least 15 words ahead of his mouth. He loves to drink Emmilaide, talk about Scooby-Do, instruct all the other children how to play. He was sitting at the table designing a six-wheeled race car when I asked him;
Me: Do you want to design cars when you grow up?
River: No!!! I want to be a superhero!!! And save people!!!
Me: How will you do that?
River: Probably with a little help from you!