|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on December 31, 2015 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
I spend my days with toddlers and and am expected to teach them daily but most days I find that they are teaching me.
A couple of weeks ago I sat down at a childlike table and made a gesture for a little boy to come sit next to me. I’ll call him David. I instructed David on how to do the art project that I’d prepared. He gladly did it and within minutes he was done. Another child, I’ll call him Sean, said “Ms. Nicole is it my turn?” I said yes and told David to get up so that Sean could sit in the chair. David gladly got up but before Sean could sit down another child sat in the chair. I’ll call her, Amy. I stood up because I needed to hang David’s art work so that the other children wouldn’t get to it. As I was doing so Sean began to repeatedly hit Amy because he was upset that she was sitting in “his” chair.
After calming Sean down and hanging the art simultaneously I kindly asked Amy to get up. She did not move and it made Sean even madder. I said “Sean it’s okay you’re next.” He continued to cry and Amy continued to resist my command to tell her to get up. While I was up walking around I did a couple of small things before returning to the art table. Once I sat back down I calmly looked at Amy and picked her up out of the chair and told Sean to sit down. Though he was still frustrated he sat down but not before turning to Amy to try and hit her one more time while saying “MY CHAIR!” I looked at Sean and I said. “No Sean! We do not hit” Overcome with frustration he ignored me and continued to lash out at Amy. Watching this I became frustrated and made a surprising decision. I said “Sean get up and go clean up the block area and when you get done you can try again.” Then I turned to Amy and said, “sit back down let’s do art.”
I laughed to myself thinking how much adults are like 2 year olds. In that classroom I’m God-like and though I repeatedly told Sean that he was “next” because it didn’t look like he was next he frustrated himself. He allowed another 2 year old that is not qualified to make any decisions for his life allow him to bring himself to a point of self-destruction. He was so overwhelmed by his situation that he blocked out my voice and my instruction. Even when it was finally his turn instead of just stepping into it with joy he couldn’t get past his frustration over a situation what wasn’t what it looked like.
Then I thought about Amy and how though she was wrong, because Sean failed at his instruction she was able to gain what at that moment was not for her. Now she would have gotten the opportunity to do art, but it wouldn’t been right then.
You may wonder did Sean ever do art? No, he didn’t. Why? Sean continued to ignore my instruction. He didn’t clean up the block area. In his 2 year old mind he couldn’t comprehend what picking up the blocks had to do with doing art. In reality they are two separated activities, but the point was that I told him to clean up the blocks. I needed to see if he would obey me given another opportunity and he didn’t.
You may wonder well what about Amy? You let her get away with “murder.” You’re right because I was more frustrated with Sean than Amy because I chose Sean. I expected more from Sean so when Sean couldn’t act right the disappointment was heavier.
I wished Sean had just picked up the blocks because I wanted Sean to do art. I really did but before I could enjoy his art I needed his obedience.
The good thing about this story is that I am not God and God is not petty. Two year olds are expected to make mistakes and there’s always another opportunity for Sean to do art. I mean we do it daily so there’s always tomorrow. What about us as adults? We don’t know that we’ll be here tomorrow let alone have another opportunity to do ART.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 28, 2015 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
Have you ever had a 2 year old ask you for something like a toy or food? You tell them no. What do they do ask again either in a repetitive mode, cry, or whine. Sometimes they even try and get it themselves. Usually, the outcome is that they get what they want. Whether it’s right then or 30 minutes later they get it. Why? Because you become tired of hearing them ask for it.
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Be Nice! Learn to apologize and how to forgive.
Have you ever had a 2 year old reach out and smack you? No, then you haven’t been around them long enough. Anyway, in the moment you are stunned and slightly angry. Your reaction may be to scold the toddler. Their reaction is usually to cry or at least appear sad. Depending on how the toddler was trained he or she may say, “I’m sorry” or give you a hug. Sometimes neither happens and you look up seeing them doing something cute 10 minutes later and guess what. All is forgiven.
Luke 17:3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
Give and accept support
Have you ever seen a couple of toddlers playing together and then one of them gets hurt? Sometimes the other toddler will try and hug or help their friend and magically the friend is all better. But then sometimes when the toddler gets hurt and their friend reaches out the toddler rejects the friend. They are upset and they don’t want the support of their friend. More than likely they want the support of an adult. The adult is bigger and more powerful. If they would recognize that there friends have the ability to help as well they would be able to move past their issue a lot faster without waiting for the support of a bigger entity.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Failure is not an option
At some point in a 2 year’s old life they think they can do everything. They want to shut the door. They want to carry everything. They want to take off their own diapers. You as the adult are baffled as to what makes them feel they are capable of doing any of this. They haven’t processed failure. Plus they may have done these things before…with your help. Even though you may not be physically helping them this time your presence gives them the confidence that they can still do it.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Have you ever seen a toddler attempt to jump off something high? You ask yourself do they not realize what will happen once they hit the ground. No, they don’t realize that there is something to be afraid of. What about when they hit the ground, start crying, and you have to calm them down. You think they will know not to do that ever again. Not exactly, no less than 10 minutes later they are at it again.
Also at what age do we become afraid of other people? I have never met a 2 year old that was afraid of another 2 year old. If they are hit by a fellow toddler they have no problem hitting, biting, or pinching right back. If the toddlers hit them again, they just hit right back. No one walks away. Usually an adult has to intervene. If the toddler doesn’t hit back it’s usually not out of fear but out of trained reaction. They have been taught not to react like that or they are not used to being hit.
Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Have you ever had a 2 year old run up to you crying because another child took their toy? You immediately look at the child that “allegedly” took the toy and try and figure out if you should take the toy and give it back or just see what happens. Usually something does happen, like the child drops the toy and moves onto something else. You try and get the 2 year old’s attention to inform he/she that the toy is now free. They are so distraught that the toy was taken away that they can’t process the concept that the toy is now free. Eventually they get it, but the child that took the toy realizes the toy is once again a hot commodity and ends up running back and gets the toy before the 2 year has a chance to get it back. Lesson learned: Don’t let crying and complaining allow you to miss out on a new opportunity.
What you want a cookie?
Have you ever potty trained a toddler? Usually, when they “go on the potty” you reward them with a piece of candy or maybe a cookie. Why? It serves as an initiative. It provides motivation. It works too! They get so excited when they potty because they know what’s coming. You are excited too because your plan is working. All is good. Then something changes. They are now potty trained, but they still expect you to be excited when they potty. They still want the reward…the cookie. Your attitude has now changed and you don’t feel that your toddler needs to be rewarded for something they are now “expected” to do. They (You) have accomplished what they were expected to accomplish according to their age and ability. It’s like celebrating a high school graduation two years after it happened. It was great when it happened, but now you have to move on. Continue to elevate.
Eventually you have to let the pull ups go!
I’ve potty trained toddlers in a day care setting. Usually parents bring their child in and say they put the child in pull ups and the training has begun. As a teacher you are excited for the child and parent. You still have other kids in your class who are wearing diapers and you hope that they will be motivated by seeing their friend use the potty. Then something interesting happens. A child that was in diapers shows up in pull ups, masters the potty, and is now wearing underwear. You look at the original pull up wearer who is still in pull ups and say, “what happened?” Why haven’t you elevated to the next level? Your friends and peers have surpassed you and they started behind you. It’s something to think about.
During my experience with toddlers I have often watched them play together. One of the most interesting things is to watch them build a tower with blocks. Either one or two things always happens, a friend comes around and tries to add blocks to the tower to make it higher or a friend comes around and knocks over the tower. When the helpful friend comes around, the toddler is often on the defense and tries to make the friend go away. He or she doesn’t understand that the friend is just trying to help. Now when the trouble making friend comes around and knocks over the tower they always have a look on their face like, “what did I do?” They know what they did but they didn’t realize the impact that it would have on their friend. In life you will be the 2 year old building the blocks, the helpful friend, and the trouble maker. When you are the one building the blocks make sure you allow help when it comes. When you knock down a tower, an enterprise, or an empire the least you can do is help the person rebuild it.