At my church, different people have different callings. (Voluntary jobs that can change from time to time) These can vary from teaching adult sunday school to playing the piano in meetings. My calling is to teach and help out in nursery with children ages 3 and under. I feel its a very important calling for me because I can grow and develop into what kind of parent I want to be if I have kids.
In the church we believe we can learn a lot from children, and we really respect them. The title of this post is also the title of the teachers manual. In fact, one of the most famous paintings of Jesus Christ in the LDS church is this one:
I think that speaks volumes at how important we regard children to be.
I also enjoy teaching these children new concepts that make them think more about their surroundings and help them to understand tricky concepts that’ll turn up later in life. I’ll give you three examples:
1) I think one of the most important lessons a child -or anyone really- can learn is that being different is ok, so when we have “colouring time” in Nursery, if one of the children doesn’t want to colour, I say to them “That’s ok, some people don’t like colouring and some people do, that’s fine.” I repeat this in similar situations like if one child doesn’t like a certain snack or colour ect.
2) One of the children was playing with some blue blocks, the blocks were all different shades of blue so I said “There’s something very strange about the blocks you’re playing with. They’re all the same colour, but they look different.” The child looked confused so I said “They’re all blue, but the blues aren’t the same.” He looked like he had some thinking to do after that!
3) When I write their names I like to say “Look, that’s your name, isn’t it amazing? That’s what your name looks like!” This is one thing a lot of them enjoy to hear, as it makes them feel special. I like reiterating the importance of names as I think a name is a major part of someone’s identity (refer back to my very first post) which is why I respect when someone wants to change their name to be what they think fits with them best.
But one thing in particular really stood out to me, one of the children likes to draw on the walls at home and she was drawing with chalks in Nursery. She called me over and in a sad voice she said “I chalked on the wall” and I said “Telling me was really good. When we make mistakes, we can tell adults and they might be sad that you did it, but they’ll be happy that you’ve told them, because then they can make it better.” I then rubbed the chalk off the wall. “See? It’s okay, but use the black board when you want to chalk, ok?”
She looked at me as if this was the most revolutionary thing she’s heard. I hope that if she thinks she has something to admit to, that from now on she knows it’s ok to tell someone else. I used the word “adults” because that applied to her, but I also used “we” to mean that we all make mistakes. When I’m a parent, I hope I can remember to tell my children this. I think its good to know that everyone can make mistakes, Beyonce can make mistakes, the Queen can make mistakes, I can make mistakes and you can make mistakes. Children -and all of us- need to know and understand this, I’m still working on it as I type, it’s a fundamental part of humanity and one that won’t ever go away.