Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One For the Children

     As a person who is lucky enough to be around lots of children on a regular basis, I feel the weight of my responsibility very deeply. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by how different most of your childhoods are from my own ,and how short they seem because many of you are exposed to adult problems so soon. Childhood is supposed to be a unique experience distinctly separate from adulthood, a time when you have fun and learn how to follow rules, and leave most of the worrying to the adults. Somewhere along the way, some adults got that mixed up.You're really cool people, and sometimes we want you to be our friends. I know that sounds fun, but sometimes, it means that we dump our big grown up problems into your still growing brains, and then we wonder why you're not acting the way we want you to. That's a really silly thing to do, and I'm sorry that so many of you have to deal with the ignorance of people who are supposed to take care of you. I've taken enough psychology classes to know that the vast majority of your negative behaviors are triggered by circumstances in your life that are outside of your control, and yet I am still so quick to lose my patience. I'm trying so hard to work on that, I hope you can forgive me in the meantime.
     I'm sorry that I can't fix all of your problems, but even more importantly, I'm sorry that I've wasted so much time being overwhelmed by what I can't do,and forgetting to do the things I can. So, from now on, I promise to try to do my best to spend less time focusing on all of the negative things I see, and more time appreciating all of the positivity you create  I'll spend less time being sad when I see people coming to eat with you and never putting their phones down, and more time listening to your stories about your little league games and dance classes. I will spend less of my moments of free time scrolling through social media reading arguments between adults about bathrooms and politics,and more of that time listening to both sides of your Baseball vs. Soccer debates,and detailed explanations of who your favorite superhero is.
    I'm still going to correct you when you're not following the rules, and I'm still not going to let you put Ketchup on every single food you eat, because I promise you that there are some things it just doesn't go with. It's my job to make sure your're following the rules and doing what you're supposed to do, and I know that makes me look mean sometimes. I can remember being a child and not enjoying being disciplined, but I am old enough now to understand that it taught me how to respect authority and take responsibility for my actions, and those are two very important things to know in this world.
     I hope you know that you're important to me, even when I'm tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated because I don't always know if I'm doing anything that's really helping you. I wish I could fix all of your problems for you, but maybe it's better for you in the long run that I can only be there to help you as much as I can while you learn to face them on your own. I'm so lucky to be someone who gets to work with children, and you have taught me more that I could ever teach you. If there's one thing I could say to you that I never want you to forget, it's something best said in the words of one of my childhood heroes. You see, when all of the chaos dies down, and summer comes, and the cycle starts again until you wake up one day and discover that you aren't a child anymore, there's one thing that I hope you'll always know, and this is it: I like you just the way you are. 

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