With children, we always tend to focus on the milestones that are normal for a child to hit. Whether it’s their first steps, their first words, or the first time they use the potty by themselves, it’s all documented to show that we have been successful in raising a child. But, what about all those moments in between?
For me, caring for children isn’t about the big moments. It’s about all of those little things that they do that make me realize that I am doing a good job.
I taught first grade this last year and while it was hard to make them grasp the concepts of telling time on an analog clock or that the combinations of ~ar, ~or, and ~ur all make different sounds, I could see them growing because of the little things they did. The notes they wrote to me, telling me that “Miss Meghan was the best teacher ever,” or the way they welcomed a new student into the class, really warmed my heart. Now, even a year later, I’m expecting a letter from one of my past students in the mail. It’s such a small thing, but it leaves a big impact.
It’s not just in teaching that I have encountered these small moments. I have two beautiful nieces and I babysit other children as well. While I do get very excited when they hit their milestones, those aren’t what I remember the most. I remember the way that my niece Amanda cracked up for no reason on a walk, producing the most infectious giggle and smile. I remember the way that my other niece answered her mother’s question with a very definitive “no,” at just over one month old (it wasn’t really intentional, but she certainly said it). These two little girls are a big part of my heart and their every move fills me with joy.
I get joy from caring for other children, too, and seeing the little things they do. I loved it when one of the girls I babysit was kind enough to share her Cinnamon Toast Crunch with my dog. It also cracked me up when a boy that I babysit took pennies from his mom’s bedside table and deemed it his “tractor fund.”
People ask me constantly, “Why do you like kids so much?”
This is why. I find a passion and a love when watching these children do everyday things that most people find irrelevant. But, parents, caretakers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, I urge you to watch the children in your life. Watch their little moments. Enjoy the times they share with you, snuggle up to you for a nap, giggle, or sing along to their favorite movie. Those are the moments that really mean the most. Those are the moments that will warm your heart for years to come and produce memories that you will never forget.
Meghan recently graduated Central Washington University with her B.A. in Education, specializing in Early Childhood Education and Development and is a certified K-12 teacher. She is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and is interested in expanding her knowledge of other international sign languages.