Do you ever have those days as a small group leader when you think, “am I really making a difference?”
Sometimes, in between changing diapers, trying to rush those who are potty training to the potty before an accident happens, serving snacks and comforting someone who is having a tearful transition from mom or dad’s departure, it’s difficult to gauge if your time with them is making a difference. These are the times when partnering with parents and getting feedback from mom and dad is so key to this small group relationship.
My very first dive into the preschool world was with a group of 18—24 month—olds, such a different place from what was familiar to me: 2nd—3rd graders! But I knew this was a key time to introduce children to who God is. So I jumped in with both feet. One of my families included a boy and girl –a month apart in age because the little boy had been adopted a few months before his sister was born. He never cried when he his parents left, but would not let me put him down. In his parents’ words, he would just “shut down”. He wouldn’t look around. He wouldn’t talk. It was as if he were trying to close off everything around him. I can only imagine what goes through a little guy’s mind who, although in a very loving and caring new family, is still going through a complete change – new people, new language, new environment.
Over time, he began to warm up, he would play some with his sister, but was still pretty hesitant to join in group activities (other than snack, of course). That’s when a bright light in the form of parent communication came along! His mom sent an email to our Preschool Director letting her know what a difference being part of our group was making in her son’s life. He was no longer fearful to go to church, or for her to leave, and was actually enjoying the experience.
After he moved up to the next class, I didn’t see him much, but in ways only God can orchestrate, this same little boy and his family are now my next-door neighbors! Watching him run and play and be just like any other three-year-old is a great reminder to me of the value of investing time into small lives and trusting God for the results.
When is a time you wondered if you were making a difference? How did God remind you that you were?