Thursday, May 27, 2010

Little Things

I read something the other day that I've been thinking about since. On Kids Ministry 101, Bill wrote: "Every big thing starts as a little something." He said that we don't know what the kids we teach will become as adults. We can impact the future by how we teach today.

I started thinking about my childhood. I remember things that my parents and other adults said...things that encouraged me or discouraged me. Little things that they don't remember but had a profound influence on me, at the time and even now.

Then I started thinking about the kids I've taught in the past. I don't know what small thing I may have said or done that impacted a child. Those small things won't stick in my memory. They are small, seemingly innocuous. But are they?

I remember a few years ago in one of my church classes. "E" wasn't a very enthusiastic attender. He came because his mother brought him. I tried to find out what he liked to do (build) and include a variety of activities that would appeal to him. He came and participated, but still wasn't exactly happy to be there. One day, as he was building, I was talking. I often try to engage children in conversation, talking about their interests and so forth. So, I began with something safe: What was his favorite thing to do in kindergarten? (Of course, build.) We talked about his school and his teacher. A seemingly innocuous conversation.

A couple of weeks later, "E" was excitedly telling me something that happened at school. He mentioned his teacher. "Mrs. Turner, right?" I asked. He stopped and appeared very concerned. "How did you know?" he asked. I smiled at him. "You told me, remember?" He grinned back suddenly. "Oh yeah."

After that conversation, "E" became a different child, much more engaged. He seemed more interested in what we were doing. He even made his mother bring him one day when she was sick. "They may miss me," he told her. (She told me.)

A little thing - listening to a child and remembering what he said. But it made a difference. I still see "E" at church from time to time. He's in middle school now. But he still speaks to me. (If only in single syllables - after all he is a teenage boy!)

I've been thinking about little things a lot lately. Are the things I'm doing making an impact in positive ways? Do my actions promote creativity and community? Or am I shutting down their experiences through some negative little things?

Or maybe I'm just thinking too much.

Photo from Flickr.com
Photographer: д§mд

5 comments:

  1. Scott,
    I think just the fact that you are reflective on the topic means you're doing things right. Your post is SO true~it's the little things that make the difference. I had two similar situations this year and really learned a lot, and built two beautiful relationships with students because of it.
    Thank you for sharing this! It made my day!=)

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  2. You and me both. As my school year draws to a close (only 12 more days with my kids...) I'm really thinking about what impact I've (hopefully) had on them. It's going to be rough few last weeks together... mainly because I'm becoming emotional at the thought of letting them go.

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  3. It's true, Scott, and you never know what little thing is going to make a difference. I had a dozen parents yesterday remind me of things I did or said to their kids that made a big difference, most of which were things I didn't remember.

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  4. Oh wow Scott, you sentimental thing you! I think Matt is right. The end of your teaching year is upon you and a time to reflect on the impact you may or may not have had on your children. All I can say is, as someone who has only met you through blogging, it is pretty clear to me that YOU'VE DONE GOOD!
    Donna :) :)

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  5. Most times we just don't even think about it. One of my parents told me the other day her son wanted to visit the library because "my teacher goes to the library to get our books and she has to take them back". She says she visited the library often with her older son, but hasn't taken her younger one yet. I'm so glad "something I said" prompted her to take him to the one place every child should go.

    We all know you promote creativity and community with your children 'cause you do with your blog:) We appreciate you:)

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