It was one of those semi-chaotic Sunday mornings in preschool world…
A visitor hiding in the corner
A juice spill on table two
And a child who is a semi-regular attendee not just crying… wailing.
Our semi-regular attendee soon became an escapee of the worst type: a runner. Up the stairs and down the hall with me in hot pursuit. Finally I caught up with and convinced him to a) stop crying b) stop running and c) try our group one more time. Once that crisis was settled, my co-leader and I started some really fun activities that our kids seemed to mostly understand but inexplicably led to a burping contest. We stopped our activities and had a conversation about what was polite and what was not. In the midst of this, our runaway group member decided to show his displeasure at the whole situation by shouting a word we don’t normally allow in our small group setting and one we really hoped the rest of our few wouldn’t go home and repeat!
By the time snacks were passed out and we were sharing prayer requests, I was feeling like my brain was going 10 different directions, and was in desperate need of a long afternoon nap. Parents came and left. The last one of my few was drawing some pictures and talking to me, telling me among other things that he would just go home with me if his mom didn’t get there! Fortunately, his mom did get there and asked if he had shared about what happened when he got his card that week. We have started sending notes to one or two kids each week just to let them know that we are thinking about them. She said he was “literally shaking with excitement” when he saw his name on that card that came in the mail! Wow! A few words received in the middle of the week made that big of an impact. Many times we underestimate what our words—good or bad—mean to people, even preschool people. I thought about all the words I could have used with my little runner boy and was glad I used mostly words of encouragement. But my exasperated attitude toward him may have sent a different message. In that moment, I began formulating a plan for next week that began with me writing him a note that day telling him how excited I was for him to come back! How do you share words of encouragement with your few (especially the challenging ones)?