My Thoughts, Responses, ​and Ramblings

The past few weeks have provided all of us with a range of emotions as several schools in our area have been evacuated due to written and verbal threats being made and/or communicated. While this is something that has been happening on a national scale, we now see it with a fresh pair of eyes as it hits close to home and affects children here in our local community. I’ve wondered how I could respond and how I could encourage from my vantage point as an advocate for children, a Christian, and a childcare director.

I recognize that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I think any of us have the perfect answers to a multitude of issues that affect our children in the current day and time. I do believe that this is a call for us to unite together despite our differences. We must come together to support our children and schools. We must volunteer in our schools. We must listen to our children when they speak (which is hard for us adults) and respect them. We must not immediately get on social media with our frustrations and complaints – we adults need to be part of the solution. We must collectively create a system of support for our children – we must community all the time not just when we’re scared or upset.

Might I add that we can’t talk about what we’ve always we done we have to understand the context of the world in which we are living in and how our children are being affected by things now that a 90s kid like myself was never exposed to, think about when you were in the 1st grade in comparison to a 1st grader you might know today. We have so many things that our children are exposed to now in the realm of social media, hate speech, opioids, gender issues, sexuality, connectivity (internet and cell phones), violence, mass shootings, a culture of fear and anxiety, bullying, and this list goes on. The exposure to things like daily school evacuations is difficult for children to understand and are significantly traumatic for them and can cause long-lasting harm. We have to respond in ways that understand how our children are seeing the world and we must walk with them not command them. We must listen to their needs and hear how they feel. Our children are innocent and unbiased and can teach us something if we will listen and I’m proud to admit that children have taught me a lot and made me a better person.

Today and most every day I’m praying these words:

God our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Everything, 

Help us to make sense of this broken world we live in that has so many needs and so many unknowns. Help us, adults, to not be selfish but selfless and see the greater good for all people. Help us to be better stewards of your grace and love. Help us to not put our hope in wayward men and women but in you and you alone. Help us to seek your guidance as we walk daily and to share your light with all that we come in contact with. Give us a spirit of calmness so that we don’t react out of anger or rage but with a clear mind that isn’t ignorant or judgmental. 

Help us to value the need for human connection and appreciate relationships that we have with one another. Help us to be salt and light in this world. Amen. 

I’ve found myself saying more and more “thank you for trusting your babies with me” and that is the honest truth I genuinely am grateful and humbled to be able to share in the lives of so many children and pray that I’m able to add something positive to their bucket and I’m grateful for the staff I get to work alongside and supervise every day that wants the best for our children and their families.

May we all want the best for ALL children!

 

Why Out of School Time Matters

Recently I was made aware that some individuals that lead our great nation believe that out-of-school time programs don’t matter and make no difference in the lives of the many we serve. While this is out of the norm for me get political on my posting this one will be my exception because the work that many of us out-of-school time providers do is life-changing and does make a difference and I’m most grateful that my life’s journey has led me to be part of this great place where I lead pre-school, after-school, summer camp and many other programs that focus on better lives of the most precious in our sight. While in many ways I’m an amateur in comparison to many of my colleagues I’ve met who have done this work for years, I do feel it’s important to defend our work when it is being criticized on a national level, so I will share some ways in which the program I lead, as well as, ways many other programs are changing lives.

  • We work with families to ensure the best for their children and provide them with life-changing experiences.
  • We seek to provide cost-effective care.
  • We to provide kids with experiences they wouldn’t have any other way.
  • We seek work in tandem with schools and many other community groups best serve the whole child.
  • We seek to educate through non-traditional formats.
  • We keep children from going home to an empty house or getting in trouble with the law.
  • We provide them with a place of safety and release after a long day.
  • We mentor and nurture.
  • We create opportunities for children to learn, share and grow together!
  • Staff serves as big brothers and sisters caring for kids!

 

Those are some examples of why out of school time programs matter and how I’d like to highlight the work I get to be part of with a wonderful staff here at 1st Explorers.

  • We provide care options on all days that school is closed to include teacher workdays, snow days, spring break, early release, etc.
  • We create opportunities for students to be part of the leadership and development of our program through asking about what they would like to learn.
  • We create specific clubs.
  • Students cook together and learn how to make healthy food.
  • Students are mentored by college students who are excited to be part of the development of our children.
  • We seek ways to provide them with a global perspective through missions’ education.

 

I wholeheartedly believe in the work I do and so many others to create opportunities for our children and you and remain committed to find ways to help children and youth develop and grow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Millennial​ Thoughts

Over the past few years I’ve been pretty silent about the things that I have read and heard from my elders who for some reason have decided to discredit and disrespect the thoughts and opinions of my fellow millennials. However if we (millennials) challenge the opinions of those “older and wiser” than us we’re considered rude, disrespectful, ignorant, self-focused and are told that we’re unrealistic, don’t understand life and have no respect for history – just to name a few of my favorite insults and I will outline later in this post along with my responses.

 

From my vantage point, (let me remind you that I have a vocation that allows me to work with all generations) I believe we have hit a point in our current landscape where we will not have constructive conversations, which is a shame. Admittedly, I enjoy having conversations with those who believe differently than I do, and I believe that we should have an open mind and respect the opinions of others. When we disagree with another person that is not an indictment on each other’s character. Luckily, I get to have quality conversations with a wide variety of individuals each day who I disagree with that I find the good in and respect. I also know that their ignorant and insensitive social media posts don’t reflect who they are. While I’m saying that, if you decide you need to “correct” me on my thoughts by commenting on this blog I will not engage you – let’s have a face to face conversation; you know, that thing some of you believe my generation isn’t good at.

 

As a millennial I get to supervise individuals that for the majority are in their late teens to early 20s. I work to provide out-of-school care in the form of Preschool, After School, and Summer Camp to the current iGen generation that was born during the 2000s. Therefore, my vantage point and exposure to various generations is broad, which I’m grateful for. I have learned so much from those younger and older than me, especially as a supervisor, when they have pushed me to think differently or encourage me to be open-minded in areas I’m closed off to. They have allowed me to have better skills to look at the bigger picture, which I believe we all need to do.

 

A few statements I’ve heard or read that I’d like to specifically respond to:

 

  • “These young people don’t understand hard work.”
    • Yes, we do! However, we believe our places of employment should provide fair wage and appropriate benefits. Think about our current cost of living.
    • By the way, you raised us.
  • “All they care about is texting and the internet.”
    • That’s a lie and a vague generalization. We have grown up in a technology-driven culture and were educated with technology.
    • Yes, we do know about dictionaries and encyclopedias.
    • Yes, we do know how to do things without a computer or the internet.
  • “They’re too sensitive and think things should be fair for everyone.”
    • Well if you don’t believe in treating people with respect and kindness no matter who they are – check yo self!
  • “All they do is protest.”
    • Gladly. And protesting is something that has been happening for many generations, so are you upset that we protest about things you don’t believe in? *And I’m not advocating for violent protesting. Also, I’m not saying I agree with every protest.
  • “I won’t listen to anything about gun control from kids who eat Tide Pods.”
    • Just stop! And shame on you for making that statement because school shootings should NOT be a normalcy and should not happen on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • “I blame their parents.”
    • What bad and/or inappropriate behaviors do you have that we can blame your parents for?
    • What bad and/or inappropriate behaviors do your children have that we can blame you for?
  • “Oh, honey, you’re too young, you don’t understand.”
    • I’m not stupid. Help me understand. Don’t demean and disrespect me in that way. I’ll gladly respect you and listen as long as you give me the same respect.
  • “None of the things y’all are fussing about have been an issue. Y’all are making it one by talking about it.”
    • Give me a break. So many things have been an issue for years even before us millennials made our presence known on this earth; they were just ignored.

 

I find myself frustrated with all generations on some level because as I said earlier there is criticism on all sides. However, I feel as though we all have significant things to share with the world that will make it a better place. I would like to remind my elders that they were young at one point and to remember how it felt when no one respected them and their offerings to the world.  My belief is that the expectation for older generations is to uplift, encourage, mentor and respect future generations.