Sunday, 5 June 2011

"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted." Garrison Keillor

“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.  They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.”
Garrison Keillor
b. 1942
U.S. author

Over the last week, and a week last month I’ve had the pleasure of looking after an eight year old boy and his ten year old sister while their mother has had to attend a course. I say pleasure deliberately as it has been just that.

Never having been a parent, I have found it a satisfying experience to make sure they are fed, clean, happy and at school on time.  The daily routine starts with them stirring and coming in to see me each morning as they know I’m an early riser. They stay in the warm room while I go out to the kitchen to make them breakfast and prepare lunches if it’s a school day.

When it’s time, I send them out to catch the school bus. They smile and hug me as they say goodbye. To me, that is thanks enough for I know they feel safe with me and appreciate what I do for them. I know my time with them isn’t wasted.

During the day while they’re away I go about my routine of making beds, washing clothes, ironing, shopping, blogging, Facebooking, etc.

At the end of the day, they arrive back on their school bus and run to say hello before telling me they’re hungry. I smile and make them something and sit and talk with them or help them with homework or watch them as they go online. Then when it’s time I send them off to bed.

It’s a simple routine followed by parents around the world yet for me it’s an experience I treasure more than I could have known before they came into my temporary care. This level of care is more than I’d experienced in all my years of teaching.

With the weekend now ended we had spent time at the local heated indoor pool. With the girl’s 11th birthday on Tuesday, I took her shopping on Saturday morning. The boy didn’t want to come along to girl shopping and chose the comfort of the warm house. On Sunday it was a trip to an amusement park for a morning of fun before an afternoon back home.

My previous post was directed at teachers with the theme “A teacher affects eternity.” Today’s theme is based on “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”

Thinking of my more personal caring for two children, a teacher affects eternity yet the same can be true for anyone caring for children. What gifts we give to the children in our care such as love, support, comfort, time, and understanding can also affect eternity. Truly nothing we do for children is ever wasted when a carer has the well being of the child in mind.

Tomorrow, the children’s mother will return. The children will be glad to be back with their mother as no one can replace her. Perhaps their experience with me will have boosted their self-esteem in the knowledge more than just their parents can care for their well being. We can never know how much what we do for children may influence their future lives but in no way was my time wasted.

How empty will the house seem when they’re gone? That is a dilemma I must face. I will have more time to waste instead of never wasted time.

Such is life when caring for children.

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