Is it just me or has the summer gone by faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 meter race? My goodness it was quick. I’m not sure where you’re reading this from today, but around here the school year is getting ready to gear up. School supplies are being purchased, new clothes are hanging in the closest, and mandatory pictures are being taken to mark the milestone of starting and returning to school.
You may have read some posts on this subject already. The posts dedicated to moms who are sending their children off to Kindergarten for the first time (I’m bookmarking those for when it’s my turn). They are so very good and encouraging. You may have read some dedicated to teachers and other school staff. Oh my goodness, teachers…what would we do without you all? You are such a gift.
All of those posts are well warranted and very much needed. That’s the beauty of this whole blogging thing-it takes a village to get the message out. But today, I wanted to say a special thank you to some of the people that perhaps aren’t normally recognized during this busy time of year. A post for the ones that often lay the ground work for our children and their future.
Today I want to take a few moments to love on and extend my gratitude to all of the early childhood educators out there. You have a special place in my heart. Here’s why:
The first day I dropped my oldest daughter off in her classroom was scary for me. She had only been cared for by family up until that point. I had so many questions. Would she be loved on? Would she cry when I left her? Would she nap well? How would she be around other kids her age?
You not only answered every one of my questions, you so gently loved on me, still a fairly new mama, and assured me that she (and I) would be alright. Looking back, I don’t remember if she cried but I do remember feeling peace when I closed the door behind me. Peace you gave me.
As a working mama, one of the challenges is often finding care for your children during the day. A place where you know they are being loved on and cared for. That is why what you do is so special and unique.
You have a unique calling placed on your hearts. A calling to care for little ones, to help raise them up. Perhaps to some it seems that what you do is not as important, but for me and so many other parents, it’s immeasurable.
Let me tell you, I could not do what you do. I was not designed for it. In all honesty, a full day with my girls prompts several opportunities for me to question my sanity. And here you are, classrooms full of little's.
Many of you start early in the morning and do not leave until late in the day. Like school teachers, you spend your own money on classroom supplies and use your artistic talents to make your classroom warm and inviting to the children you are working with. You get children excited about letters and numbers and reading. At an early age, you help spark their love of learning. What a truly amazing talent.
I want you to know that I view you not just as my children’s teacher, but as a co-laborer in this Kingdom work of raising them. You have an influence on so many things, probably some you don’t even realize.
When my daughter came home one day and knew that her name started with the letter B, that was because of you.
When we played hide and seek one evening and she counted 10, 11, 12, 13….that was because of you.
When I announce that it’s time to say the blessing at dinner time and my 15 month old folds her hands together and starts singing God, (more like “Gooooddddd”) that is because of what you do.
And when my three year old was able to recall the story of Jesus’ death to me, it wasn’t simply from my teachings, it was from yours as well. You are helping lay the foundation.
You are very much part of this Kingdom work. I’m sure that like any job, you feel that your role can sometimes become mundane. I’m sure there are days when you feel like you aren’t making a difference. I’m sure there are days when the day seems like it can’t end soon enough. I know you wear many hats that I’m pretty sure are not in your job description.
Parent re-assurer (yes, I made that up)
That last one encompasses so many things doesn’t it? You are so many things, but teacher is one of those words that carries with it more weight than we realize. That’s why what you do is not just a job. It is a calling.
The patience you have is a gift.
The compassion you offer is countless.
The special love you give is priceless.
The calling you have answered is a worthy one.
What you do is hard work. It is often selfless and unappreciated. But that is the thing about a calling isn’t it? It is so often hard and unrelenting, and we don’t always see the fruits of our labor.
So while there might not be a bunch of fancy pictures being taken on the first day of school, I want you to know that for all you do and for so much more, I am so very thankful for you.
You are important. Your gift of working with children is unlike any other. You are loved by so many.
If you are an early childhood educator, may I leave you with this prayer?
What a gift you have given us in early childhood teachers. I am often at a loss for their patience and compassion for young children. What a treasure they are. As a new year begins, my prayer for them is that they continue to find fulfillment and joy in their callings. I pray especially for their strength and endurance on the difficult days. For the days when the children test their patience and they feel they are not making a difference. I pray you will continue to whisper perseverance to their hearts. Thank you for the blessing of teachers who do this hard work. Confirm their callings to this Kingdom work and lead them to you so that they can lead children to Your Son. In Jesus Name, Amen.