I step into the room and turn on the lights. Everything lay in perfect order, yet within the next hour and a half, it will look like a tornado had ripped right through the room. For the moment though, all is quiet in the nursery. I begin to read the schedule for today when the first child arrives. There in the doorway stands one of the sweetest two-year olds in my class, Ava-Grace. A big Kool-Aid stained mouth smiles up at me beneath her beautiful blue eyes. I give her a hug, which she returns while chattering on in toddler language. Her mom waves goodbye as we head toward the bubble machine, Ava’s favorite toy in the nursery. More kids begin to show up and soon the whole class has arrived. Everyone rushes to his or her favorite toy, all but one little boy named Ryan.
He is a quiet little boy who holds a special place in my heart. He loves to cuddle with me and let me read him stories. He is content to spend all his time in the nursery at my side wherever I go. Usually I am the only teacher he will allow to come anywhere near him which makes the bond we have feel even more special. He follows me to the door when other kids arrive and even stands patiently by the rocking chair when I read a story to another child. Today he is satisfied with just holding my hand while I watch the other kids.
Snack time arrives and everyone gets excited. Chairs are taken down and placed around two tables in the middle of the room as kids rapidly try to find a place by their friends. They eat their crackers so quickly that I have to rush to keep up with their hungry mouths. When they are finished, I wipe every gooey mouth and wash their hands in the sink. For the last ten minutes the kids play as I start to wipe the tables off and put away the chairs. Parents begin arriving to pick up their children. As they leave, I tell them how happy I was they came and how much I love them. As one boy leaves with his dad, he rushes back to give me a hug and whispers that he loves me too. I let go and give him a smile as he turns to catch up. After all the kids have gone, I scan the room. Toys lay everywhere, but all I can think about is how wonderful God is that he would give me such joy when working with kids.
Teaching children is my passion in life. God has given me a special bond with kids and I hope to use that bond to help change their lives. It brings me joy to see them learning at every moment. For some of them, learning means realizing that sharing is important, for others it means being able to trust me enough to let me comfort them or talk to me when I ask them a question. Each child holds a special place in my heart and I will never forget a single one of them. If only I had but one thousand lives, I’d give them all to those kids.