Every Saturday, I work with Preschoolers at church. I generally work with the three year olds, but sometimes I am needed in the 4's or 5's. But, three year olds have a special place in my heart. Every weekend, when the last kid is picked up, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and slide into my car literally EXHAUSTED.
Seriously, those kids know how to wear someone out. Comfy clothing is a major requirement and NOT playing with them on the floor is not an option. You definitely need to play with them on the floor.
They run, they scream, they throw things, they dip their Goldfish and Animal Cookies in water, they eat glue, and break every single crayon. They somehow miss the toilet (boy or girl) and pee all over the floor. Instead of washing their hands in the sink, they sometimes wash them in the toilet. They love gummi bears, they share for the most part, they generally can't sit through the lesson, they love the Legos and Play-Dough.
They are three year olds. And man, oh man, do I love them so. Although I wrote they generally don't sit through lesson, I am always surprised when they do listen and they get the story we are telling them. I remember at one of the Easter services, we told the kids about why we celebrate Easter. I really struggled with this lesson, we had to simplify the lesson as much as possible for the three year olds. We had resurrection eggs and each one represented something. We also had a cave that had Jesus in it, but then we was gone. I really didn't think they got the lesson, but a few months later, I worked with a mom of one of my kids. She explained to me about her daughter re-telling the lesson to her and how she used her hands to retell the Easter story I had told her months earlier.
This three year old got it and retold it way better than I could of. It made my heart happy.
I do it because a hug and a kiss from a three year is the best thing.
I do it because I love standing in church and feeling little arms wrapped around me because they saw me and just wanted to say hi.
I do it because of the smile I get after I made a "boo-boo" all better with a little cleaning, a bandage, and some extra special love.
I do it because no matter how frustrated I get at little D for his potty-training accidents that I have to clean up every weekend (and I'm not talking pee here), my heart melts every time he says, "I'm sorry, Miss Bandy (not Brandy, Bandy)." I mean seriously, who could resist the big blue eyes and most precious face ever?!?!
I do it because I love to sit down with them to color or using the Play-Dough to stretch our imaginations as far as they go.
I do it because I see the kids in public and they scream as loud as they can, "Mommy, there's my teacher!"
I do it because they grow up at Central and many years later, they still remember me and I can say, "I remember you when..." Even after they grow up, I still have a relationship with them.
I do it because they will sometimes randomly come up and tell me that they love me.
I do it because one day, the little seed that I've planted will harvest into something bigger than I can imagine.
I do it because once they get what Jesus did for them, they hold nothing back when it comes to loving God and telling others about him. They are the boldest people I know when it comes to talking about Jesus.
I do it because my heart fills with the greatest emotion when they are baptized. The two I witnessed today were both kids, it made me cry. It's amazing to see that.
Blood (from the kids), sweat (from me), and tears (sometimes from both of us), makes it all completely worth it.