Wild. Messy. Uncontrollable. Frustrating. Thankless.
These are all words I'd use to describe what it's like to work with kids, whether they're my own or not. And judging by the baby bans that have spread throughout hotels, airlines, restaurants, and even grocery stores, many feel that they just aren't worth all the trouble.
As a mother, it feels like when I step into a grocery store or even my own church with a squawking child, the stares of fellow shoppers (or members of the congregation) are saying, "Keep them silent! If they make noise, you must be an AWFUL parent."
This is the thing... I don't get why kids aren't allowed to make some noise. They're KIDS. I make noise when I'm excited, don't you? It was interesting, when I was working my first few years at the job I have now (which I call my new, old job): we had training meetings with a psychologist/speaker and we were working on an exercise she gave us, being very noisy. Suddenly the speaker piped up and said, "Do you hear how loud you're being right now? Learning is loud. Yet we tell kids all day, "Be quiet!". It gave me a good little chuckle, knowing I'd done that to kids already. She constantly asked us to put ourselves in our kids' shoes... and it really opened my eyes. They go to school, constantly being told what to do, and not being allowed to direct themselves as far as free play until lunchtime (and even at lunch, there is no imaginary play that involves anything pseudo-violent, such as "army" or other games that we, as kids, got to grow up playing). Then, if they have daycare or something of the like afterschool, they have another 3 or more hours being told what to do and where to go. They come home starving, just in time for dinner, and then maybe some TV/video games and bedtime. I say TV and video games because by the time they come home, it's dark out.
When I was a kid, life was imaginative and wonderful; even when things were going crazy in my home life. I got to play outside, let out my energy, and daydream. My parents weren't overbearing, and they didn't hover over me to watch everything I did. I wasn't constantly supervised by adults, and of course, I got into trouble sometimes. I realize that this day and age is different from the one I grew up in (technology is so prominent, it seems hardly anyone gets out anymore), but I still think it wouldn't hurt to take some time to let kids be kids... not to excuse bad behavior, but just to lighten up a bit and stop taking them so seriously. Eating candy once in a while won't turn a kid into a diabetic... if we let them free play a little, they're not going to kill each other...
I know a lot of people don't want to deal with kids. I don't agree with them, but I can sort of understand where they're coming from. It's just easier not to be exposed to loud, muddy, snot-covered wild things that hop around like a bundle full of energy. It is easier.
But aren't most of the worthwhile things in life just a little bit difficult?
There is beauty in the painstaking things. I believe this as a mommy, and as a child care provider. And I hope you believe it too.
What messy, difficult things are you intentionally taking part in? When you feel like giving up or think you're not making a difference, what keeps you going? Please let me know in the comments section, and have a wonderful day!