30 Seconds for Hope: Everyone is significant. Even though children don’t contribute much to society (except for contributing messes to clean!), every child has intrinsic value. As I watched my first mentor create enjoyable activities for other people’s children, her example propelled me toward that important mindset—that everyone is significant, no matter how small. What a happy thought!
And now the full story:
Gem Number 1…
Blue, green, yellow, orange, red…a rainbow of plastic rings in the church nursery presented a fun challenge for the toddler I entertained. This little tot grasped a red plastic doughnut while my ten-year-old hand guided his fingers to a spindle for stacking. Success! But the next ring proved more challenging because the tiny circumference of the red ring stayed at the tip of the spindle, blocking the blue ring from falling into place. With ten-year-old expertise, I happily solved this brainteaser for the child. Success again. Now we were both having fun!
The toddler nursery had been my mother’s recent brainchild. She’d watched parents frequently reprimand their young children in church. “Sit still and be quiet!” those parents would whisper. Sometimes they also punished. My mom’s heart went out to the children, and at home she remarked, “Children should be offered a pleasant experience at church!”
Mother valued these young children, so she went to work. Enlisting our help, my mother created a fun place for toddlers where they could play and receive special attention. Her beliefs spurred her motivation: “A child is a person, so at church the needs of children should be thought about and met. Let’s help them build a positive association with the church building.” Inspired by those thoughts, she went about nursery preparations, dreaming of things the little ones might enjoy.
Actually, truth be known, my dad had the same mindset—that every child is important and should be treated with care and respect. He was a frequent nursery worker and had great fun with the kids. As I observed my parents play enthusiastically with toddlers, I saw them listen attentively to babbling “talk” and unintelligible “words,” giving the children the same attention an adult would have been given. I watched my parents entertain tots through age-appropriate stories, songs, and lessons. And as they taught moral lessons to these beginners’ ears, I also learned a moral lesson. I learned that no person is too young for respect. Every person—even a babe—has significance.
That lesson was better caught than taught, and I began to catch it from my parents. From them I began to understand the importance of noticing and valuing wee ones—which I later translated into the importance of viewing every person as significant. Thank you Mother and Dad!
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