Our society is predominately individualistic. Kids today mostly have this idea that they are raising themselves (whether true or not). A lot of the times adults look down on adolescents and talk to them as if they aren't valuable. Some adults also seem bothered with nurturing children. Kelly and I were at the beach and these girls were laying out completely ignoring their 3 year old that was with the group. She really was the saddest little kid at the whole beach. A sad kid at the beach is next to impossible. Most kids were laughing, screaming, running, playing. To me, it breaks my heart to see adults treating kids like grown-ups too young.
Today I was able to volunteer with the PreK class at Community Connections, a family transition housing shelter. 4 & 5 year olds are awesome! They are so smart, intuitive, and incredibly sensitive. I was a new friend to the class so they all were so hungry for attention. Imagine being a parent to 14 kids! They all wanted to show off how fast and skilled they were at each of their play activities. "Look at me, look at me!" several screamed across the playground. It made my heart just melt. I noticed the other adults were sitting off just watching the kids play. Working with kids is a tough job but I think it's important to nurture kids at this age. There were some playground squabbles and I was able to help teach the kids how to play with each other. There was not one single child who could share or play with another kid with the same toy (like a ball or bat). We finally got to a place where the kids were at least able to line up to share playing with the bat & ball. Even with that, there were some shed tears.
A few of us played house and some of the kids called me "mommy." I wasn't comfortable with that at first but then I made sure they knew we were just playing pretend. We had story-telling in the fort and within 2 minutes there were 5 kids sitting with me. It's interesting letting a 4 year old tell a story that they make up. it tells you a lot about their environment. One girl talked about violent killing of the main characters of her story. Children soak up so much information that you really have to create a safe and loving environment. These are little children who deserve love, kindness, discipline, and nurturing. I see too often parents think that yelling & spanking kids when they misbehave is all you need to do to be a parent.
In our own community there is an apparent need for outreach and volunteer services. Residents really don't need to go across the world once a year to do a "mission trip" when there are so many opportunities to serve on a weekly if not daily basis. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone made their own little impact in their own community. I am getting so angry about the horrible things people do to other human-beings. I'd love to just hear wonderful things people are doing for each other in the smallest ways. Smiling, kindness, opening doors, etc. These little things make a difference. Maybe even if people took a risk and got out of their comfort zone they would find the world a much more appealing place. Not until you recognize the beauty within the "least of these" people will we find the beauty within ourselves. For me, it gives meaning and purpose to life. It's easy to give to those we can expect to receive something from, but a whole different story to give to those who can never pay us back.
Today I realized I am completely fine with waiting to have children. They are exhausting! Other than that, just happy to hang out with some incredibly sweet little people. It's nice to be around kids who still just want lots of hugs :)