The kids I work with are amazing. They are funny, creative, and energetic. They tell good stories, they love to be helpful, and they have some pretty cool dance moves. They love easily, find joy in small things, and love learning. The kids I work with are caring, strong-willed, and resilient. They are all these things, but I want to focus on the fact that they are teachers.
Let me explain. I think it’s easy to believe that we – adults – are the teachers and that kids are the learners. Sometimes we slip into a fixed mindset that makes these titles stringent and inflexible. I think this is a mistake – one that I make regularly. I think we have a lot to learn from kids. Actually from this past week’s experience, I know we have a lot to learn from kids.
I’ve been adding to the list pretty regularly, but here are a few things I’ve learned this past week.
Kids love easily. They don’t have a list of things that a person needs to be in order to love them. They just love. And that love lasts and remains unconditional.
Kids forgive easily. When something or someone upsets them, they may let it affect them for a little while, but come back later in the day, and all is forgiven – and sometimes even forgotten. Kids don’t let past hurts affect the fun that they want to have. They don’t hold onto grudges because doing so hurts the grudge holder more than the offender. The forgiveness kids offer is genuine and most of the time it isn’t contingent.
I’m learning to have fun like kids do. They aren’t worried about what the next day will bring. They live in the moment. They laugh without hesitation. They get excited for high fives and dance parties and chalk. We read an article this week and towards the end it talks about a mustard seed. Children find every mustard seed in life and it excites them. I want to live without worry and I want to be excited for the little things. I want to live without having to remind myself to trust God. I want to live free and in the moment knowing that whatever happens has been perfectly orchestrated by God. That thought may not be the reason kids live without worry for what will come, but their example of what it looks like to live free is beautiful and I want to follow it.
Similarly to that, I’ve also been learning to rely on God, to trust Him like a child trusts a parent. I have a fear of failure and trust isn’t something that comes naturally or easy for me. I like to know the plan; what’s going to happen? Why is blank happening? What’s its purpose? What lesson is this supposed to teach me? I try to find the answers to these questions immediately. I obsess over the situation until I either “figure it out” or have sufficiently stressed myself out to the point where I break down. I want to have child like trust with God. I want to wake up and not worry because my Guardian has the day planned.
All of these things have been great to learn or be reminded of, but I think the most valuable lesson has been starting to understand the grace that God has for me. Like I said before, the kids I work with are amazing, but they can still test my patience. They need constant reminders to stay in their seats, keep their hands to themselves, and “please stop screaming, I’m right next to you.” It’s easy to get annoyed and frustrated, especially when the kids are purposely defiant, but honestly, it has taught me so much about the grace God must have for me. Like them, I need constant reminders, I “forget” to listen and honestly, I too am purposely defiant. God continues to care for me, gracefully remind me, and love me unconditionally. Getting the opportunity to show patience, compassion, and love to the kids I work with each day has begun to give me a small understanding of how God works with me. God’s mercies are new every morning and I’m beginning to understand a little bit of what that means and how unconditional love makes it possible.