Our jobs in early childhood certainly aren’t “glamorous.” And yet there are people who have been working in our field for decades and can’t imagine doing any other job. I also have been working in the field for most of two decades and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I started to ask myself and others, why do we choose this job? What is it about working with young children that makes us get out of bed each day? I’ve gotten lots of answers. Most are what I think people expect: “I love children. It’s so rewarding to see them grow. My mom was a teacher and it’s in my blood.”
There was one answer to my questioning that made me just grin from ear to ear. The answer came from a man who is 86 years young and works as the general maintenance man for a local child care program. As he was sharing with me why at 86 years old he comes to work every day to do the important job of repairing the materials and grounds used by so many children, the most profound statement he made was, “because love is a verb and I can build and repair and restore to show the children and teachers how much I love them.”
With that in mind, as you contemplate a fresh day in your classroom, how will you show those you encounter each day that love is a verb? Could you extend a helping hand to the mom who has her hands full dropping off an infant and preschooler in the morning? Could you smile and greet each child and adult by name that enters into your classroom? Could you offer to help your co-worker who is having a difficult day?
I am so lucky. I truly do love my job. I work with a great group of people. I have the joy of visiting with teachers, administrators, families and children. I see teachers creatively provide opportunities for children to learn new concepts. As I thought about the idea of love being a verb, I realized I need to figure out how I can show others just how much I love my job. Knowing that our jobs can sometimes be challenging and life can feel really big, I encourage you to remember why you love your job. I also challenge each of us to show those around what that means, because love is most definitely a verb.