If you have been serving in a preschool class for more than 30 minutes, you will know for certain that no two preschoolers are the same. There are those that could easily be the poster child for “Perfect Preschooler” magazine. You know the ones, the perfect angel, blond curls, blue eyes, compliant nature. This child always colors within the lines, insists on putting one toy away before getting out the next and wears an invisible halo to church each week.

Then there are those who are, well, more “active”. These are the children who hit the floor doing 90 mph laps around the room, touching every person in the room as they circle. The vacuum created as they speed by topples at least a half-dozen toys and you are fairly certain you saw the paint pulling away from the wall at one point.

These, and all those in between, are your few. Some will be easy to lead through the day. Some will take more, shall we say, focus. The challenge to us as small group leaders is to spend quality one-on-one time with each of them.

Depending on our own personalities , it’s easy to stick to one extreme or the other. If we tend to be more passive, we will find ourselves doting over the Angels, commenting often on how wonderfully they are completing the task at hand. At the same time, we may lean toward ignoring the antics of the Speedys, not wanting to enter a constant battle of engaging them in the current activity. Or, if our personality lends itself to being more controlling, we may allow the Angels to float along on their own and spend our entire session focused on making sure the Speedys stay well within the assigned boundaries.

Instead, spend some time with each. Don’t let them get out of class without some personal time with you. Ask about the cat. Or if the dog chewed up another shoe. Or if they played in the rain. Or if their baby sister still cries a lot. They each have a story from the week that they want to share, if someone will listen. They each need to know you want to hear it. They each need a chance to share it.

Do you tend to focus more on the Speedys or the Angels? What is your method for making sure your kids each have a chance to share their stories?

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Barbara Graves

Barbara loves God, children's ministry, coffee, the Braves, and her granddaughter Eden-Grace. She's been in ministry for over 30 years and wishes she didn't have to sleep so she could write, teach, and read a little more.

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