The other night I was out walking my dog. It is my favorite time to be out with my dog because we are usually the only ones out and we can hear and feel the peacefulness in the air. This particular night was very clear with a hint of chill swirling around us. At one point I happened to look up and I saw a star shooting across the sky. I was amazed at the fleeting beauty and exclaimed to my dog, “Look!” (She didn’t care to look up from the pole she was sniffing). So I was left alone with my thoughts and pondering. As we continued our walk I reflected upon the star and the gift of looking to the sky at the exact moment it flashed across the atmosphere.
My mind then wandered to the children we serve. What a gift it is to be present and observing at the exact moment a child truly understands a concept. I love seeing the look of amazement and innocence on a child’s face when she “gets it.” The child sits up a little straighter and sees the world through a slightly different lens. There is a mixture of innocence and a little more wisdom reflected through her eyes.
What a gift it is to be the person who helped facilitate that learning. We are the ones who arrange the environment, plan the lessons, provide the appropriate materials, and facilitate the learning. We have the privilege of creating a culture in which exploration is welcome and everyone understands and accepts there will be mistakes. We have the responsibility to develop community where it is safe to make those mistakes, to learn from them, and then move forward with a deeper understanding of the world.
As child care providers we are blessed to be the person who parents have chosen to care for their bright stars, their children. We must work hard to build trust and a relationship that tells parents we will carefully and intentionally teach their children the skills needed so they can soar through life as the bright star flies across the sky. Not only do we need to build that trust but we need to work hard to keep that trust. This means we follow the regulations, we treat children and families with kindness and respect, and we continue learning and stretching our minds.
Sometimes, as providers, we become so caught up in the busy-ness of the job that we forget to observe. I challenge you today to stop for just a moment and be truly present in the lives of the children. Look into their eyes and see the innocence, see their amazement at learning, and see the child as a star.