Little people need you……

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

I had an experience this last week that I wanted to share.  Spike began attending kindergarten at the start of the school year.  I go and help in his class once a week, but only for about an hour.  The children know me, but I am not ever present so they do not have the same kinship with me as they do with their teacher—which is fine.

Over the last couple of weeks, as I have dropped Spike off for class, one of his classmates has been having a really difficult time with school.  Every morning she is crying because she doesn’t want to be there.  It is just heartbreaking to watch this totally sweet, innocent little brown eyed girl with flowing long brown hair, sobbing with her fingers in her mouth because she is sad about being at school.

On Tuesday, she was again having a hard time.  Grandma had dropped her off and she wouldn’t even come into the classroom.  We had arrived just as class was about to start, so I thought I would help out the teacher and see if she would talk to me so the teacher could manage the other 20 students in the classroom.

At first, she wasn’t very keen on speaking to me.  But I eventually won her heart and she opened up to me.  As we talked, she shared how much she really just wanted to give her grandma one more hug before she left.  And she shared how difficult it is to go to school every day without her sister there.  Her sister had been there last year as a 2nd grader while this little person was in transitional kindergarten.  I tried to help her see that kindergarten wouldn’t last that long and she would be picked up soon and that she had already done 49 days of kindergarten and she could do one more.  During our conversation, she let me know that she wouldn’t be picked up after kindergarten.  She had daycare until her mom or grandma got off of work.

At that point, I kind of stopped.  Wait a minute.  You mean you are five years old, and your day starts before 8 a.m. and you don’t get picked up until 6 p.m.—-Every DAY?!!  And you did this last year when you were four?  You are five, and you are putting in more than a forty-hour week?!!

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

Now, I am not trying to blame the parents.  I know some parents are in situations where that is the reality of their existence in order to take care of their family.  And maybe this is one such family.  However, the stress it is putting on this little person is obvious!  She is not getting her emotional needs met, at five, because she is being pushed to do more than realistically should be expected of a five year old.

Childhood is so very, very short!!  It just broke my heart that those circumstances are the reality of her day. It was so upsetting to me, that when Spike had a doctor’s appointment at 10 that morning, I didn’t bother to bring him back to school.  I decided that at least one little person in the world could just come home and play, and be five—the whole day.

When I returned to school that afternoon to pick up Spike’s back pack (because I had intended on taking him back to school after his appointment), the teacher thanked me for helping her little student that morning.  I didn’t feel like I had done much.  But then, I opened up my heart to her and just shared my feelings with her and why I hadn’t brought Spike back to school.  I didn’t think that was that big of a deal either.

But then a miracle happened.

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

The next day, Spike and I were late to class.  Spike’s teacher is excellent about starting class on time.  As we walked into class, the children were still playing, 10 minutes into class.  There was a happy buzz about the classroom.  Everyone was just doing their own thing with or without friends.  But the energy in the room was very happy and relaxed.  The teacher and I talked for a few minutes.  She shared with me that my comments the day before had prompted her to let the kids ‘just be kids’ and to enjoy their classroom and relax.  She said that when it was time for school to start, her little emotional person had just gotten settled with a group of girls and after thinking about how hard life it sometimes, she had decided that she just needed to let them play.

I don’t have any idea how long she let them go before she decided that she needed to ‘get them on task’.  I don’t even know if that conversation carried over for more than one day.  But for that day, it made a difference in the emotional development of at least four people, probably more.

We really don’t know how small and insignificant behaviors affect others.  I didn’t think my thoughts were very profound, and certainly I was not purporting an agenda or trying to sway the masses.  I just shared the innermost thoughts of my heart with another person–thoughts about how difficult life is for one little girl and how much she is struggling just maintain it from day to day.  I am not trying to blame others for her circumstances or theirs…….just making observations, and wishing life was just a little easier and a little less demanding.

Take time out!!  Especially for the little people.  They were not made to run as fast as we like to think we should.  In fact, maybe they are in our lives to make us stop and slow down.  If anything I have learned after having nine children, there is nothing more important than the emotional needs of our little people.  If we want them to become the kind of people who will change the world for the better, it is up to us to stop the world and validate that they matter!  What they think and what they want and what they need!  They are valuable!  They are important!  And it is out job to protect them and remind them of their importance and of our love!

copyright:  Karen Larsen photography

One Comment on “Little people need you……

  1. what a fabulous experience. I'm so glad you took the time to write it down. It helps to validate the decisions I'm trying to make in our home and schooling efforts. I think about you all the time and want to call, but don't ever have anything specific to say so I don't call. Hugs.


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