A Little Bit of Learning

At twenty, I have had a surprising amount of jobs in a wide array of fields. At fifteen, I got my first job at Zaxby’s. After working there for a year and a half, I moved about thirty feet next door to work at Firehouse Subs. While I worked there a year, I also worked at Don Gallo Mexican Restaurant for three months before my freshman year of college. Since college, I have only held two jobs. One would, of course, be the Tagge Center on LMU campus as a tutor, and the other is a local daycare near my parents’ house.

I started at the daycare the summer after my freshman year, and I have worked every summer and winter break since. My family and friends always find it odd that I am going to school to work with the elderly, but spend my time working with children. The truth is, working with children has taught me so much about life in general. It is often incredibly challenging, but working with kids has helped me grow up. Now, I don’t want to sound like a sourpuss, but working in a daycare is not for the faint of heart. Here’s the satirical list of the lessons I have learned from little ones!

Express Yourself:

I often have to tell the kids “Use your words, not your hands!” When children are growing up, it is sometimes really hard for them to understand their emotions, and not hit someone because they’re confused. Even though I am adult and should be better at emotions by now, I can sometimes relate to this plight. Even though I don’t tend to punch people, I do have a bad habit of raging at innocent bystanders when I get frustrated.  Just the other day I got into an argument with my sister in the car, and I am a little ashamed to admit that half the reason I was angry was because of the bad traffic. Teaching the children about handling their emotions actually reminds me of the way I should be handling mine.

Sharing is Caring:

Unsurprisingly, teaching toddlers to share is a challenge. Yet, it is such a gratifying experience when you look around and see them playing and sharing with each other without being prompted. I know as adults we shouldn’t have to be reminded to share, but I’m not just talking about toys here. Sometimes I think we all need a little reminder to share our time. It is not always easy for me to suddenly spend so much time with my family, but when I stop and realize how much this time means to my family, it helps me readjust to being home for extended lengths. Listening to my sister’s high school stories, or my mom’s family gossip, or my dad’s complicated work tales, will mean more to all of us in the long run. Sharing my time with others seems like one of the most important gifts of this Christmas season.

Patience is a Virtue:

Let me tell you folks, I am not a patient woman. As my boyfriend, family, and friends could attest, I hate waiting. On ANYTHING. In reality, people being late for an appointment with me is my absolute biggest pet peeve. Ironically, I attempt to teach young children patience every day at work. Toddlers hate to wait for food, or toys, or to go outside. Similarly, the kids have also taught me better patience when dealing with frustrating situations. When five kids are crying an you’re trying to sort out who kicked who because this kid accidentally ran into that kid, patience is kind of the only way to stay sane. Sometimes it helps to remember that these little people are learning how to cope with life. Even today, I get cranky when I’m tired or hungry, so why should they feel any different?

Learning to Listen: 

Listening is not always my be st virtue. When the kids all try to tell me something at the same time, I can become especially impatient. But the value in this is that learning how to listen to each child, one at a time, in a loving manner, helps me in other areas of my life. Learning to listen to the woes of little ones helps me to listen to my friends, family, and even professors at LMU.  At face value,  the kids at the daycare may not seem to be saying anything overly important, but when I take time to listen I often learn new things or pieces of information I really needed to know to care for them better.  This helps me as a student to listen closely to what my professors say, because sometimes treasures are hidden in plain sight.

While these are just a few things I have learned from my job at the daycare, there are so many more. I could probably write a book about the outrageous things I have experienced as a seasoned daycare veteran, but I can honestly say I love my job. Through all the tears and messes, the smiles, laughter, and progress that I get to experience makes it all worth it. As the kids grow up, I do as well.

What kind of jobs have y’all had? How are you spending your winter break? Please comment and share my post, I love the feedback from my readers!

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Posted on December 20, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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