Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Children as Parables

One of the reasons that I love working with children is because they can be great parables for my own life. Children are much more open with their emotions, say what they mean, and do not over analyze things. Jesus calls us to enter the kingdom of God like children because they are innocent, untainted by the world, and open. Here are some stories that God has spoken to me through.

On the first day of school, I was taking my kinders on the field to run a lap. I was running in a line with them to teach them how to run around the perimeter of the field. One girl fell down and scraped her knee. For kindergarteners this can be very traumatic, they can feel like they are dying. It can take a while for them to recover from a fall. The next time when I took them out onto the field the little girl did not want to run a lap for fear that she would fall again. Every day she says the same thing to me. Because her first experience being on the field was being hurt, that is what she associates the environment with and fears the same experience will happen to her. It reminded me of how often we have a first experience of something that we hold onto and assume the same thing will happen. Especially if we are hurt in relationships, we can not let go of that experience, assuming the same thing will happen each time.

Another little girl will hide her face in her hands when she is sad. When I try to engage with her, she says nothing and buries her face. I say to her, “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong. I can’t help you if you hide from me.” Sometimes I feel like I respond to God that way. I just want to bury my face and hide. Although God knows what is wrong with us, he is always inviting me tell him why I am upset. He gets down on my level and waits for me to respond to him as I do with my students.

I spent about a week with my nephew right after he was born, helping my sister out. Newborns really just sleep and eat. Since my sister was mainly handling the eating part, my time with him was while he slept. Most of the times that I held him he was sound asleep. But I was not bothered by this. I just enjoyed being with him. Now that he is a little older, he does a lot of more than eating and sleeping. He crawls, smiles, plays, makes faces, laughs. But he doesn’t need to do those things for me to love him. I still enjoy watching him sleep in his car seat on the way home. Even when he poops over the cute little outfit I bought him, I still love him. And isn’t that a good reminder of the way that God interacts with us. When we feel like we need to do things for him or prove ourselves to him, really all he wants is to spend time with us.

One thing that I am trying to work on with my kinders is walking in a straight line and keeping our hands to ourselves. What I expect of them in line is that they keep their hands by their sides, (I call out to them, show me soldiers, and the straighten up) face forward, and pay attention to where the line is moving. But it is a very difficult task as kinders have a lot of energy and are easily distracted. They often flail limbs of their bodies any which way, causing them to hit other children unintentionally. They are distracted by a bug, stick, or a noise and hold up the line. I get frustrated with them in how often I to stop and refocus them to get in line and repeat the same instructions. But how often an I easily distracted in prayer and have to learn things from God over and over again.

My roommate reminded me how emotions are kind of like kindergarteners. For those of us who are “J”s out there, we like things to be organized and predictable. Js who are also Fs are often frustrated when are emotions are unpredictable and come up at inconvenient time. Often I find myself trying to organize my emotions like in kinders. I want them to be in a nice straight line and follow me the way that I want them to go. But often them push, and fall, are distracted and sway from the way that I want them to go. I have to remember that my kinders are 5 and it’s the nature of their age to be distracted and need to move their body all around. In the same way I can not manage my emotions and force them to behave the way that I want them to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

General Update

This a general update on a few different things. I have not been motivated to blog recently. Hopefully that will change soon. I should be writing a one year in review post since I have been living in LA for a year now. We shall see if the reflection for that post will come about.

New School Year

I started the new school year with my afterschool job. I was very resistant about starting because it was a really great summer and the previous year had been very difficult. But the staff team and I were all dedicated to starting the year off on a good foot and being very consistent with our disciple.

I got a fresh batch of kindergarteners. I am also working with another group of 1-5th graders. I switch off between those two groups. The new kindergarteners are adorable with cute little personalities and challenges of their own. But I am not going to lie, I miss my kindergarteners from last year terribly. It was very hard seeing them the first few days in their new group but not being able to work with them. Even though they were very difficult and gave me a lot of trouble, I am very attached to them. I get attached to kids very easily. I really only get to see them at the very end of the day and most are picked up by then. But I know I will grow attached to this new group as well.

I am learning that every group is very different in what they do well and what is challenging for me in teaching them. Last year my Ks were excited about everything. They were happy with any activity that I gave them. But they would be so excited that they would scream and get out of control easily. It hard to calm them down enough to actually do the activity.

The group this year is more mellow but also less engaged. They Ks this year will say, “This is boring,” or “I want to go home.” Last year they NEVER said that, they loved everything, even homework time. But this year I have to work harder to keep them engaged, but they are not as out of control.

I am teaching theatre one day a week but it’s harder and less rewarding than the summer. The kids are constantly getting picked up throughout the class so it interrupts the flow of the lesson and a lot of the kids miss it.

New job

I also just got another job as a teaching assistant at a different school. Praise the Lord! I am soon to be fully employed with 2 part time jobs. I am waiting for my background check to clear so I haven’t started that one yet. It’s going to be a busy schedule for me. The teaching assistant job is 8-12:45 and Star is 2-6, except Tues its 1-6. The two jobs are about 30 min away although I have not tried the commute yet. I will most likely be eating my lunch in the car on the way. But I grateful for the hours and to have another position working with children. I am hoping to learn a lot by being in a classroom and seeing if I could really do the whole teaching thing. I am trying to discern if I should go back to school to get my teaching credential.

Exploring LA through Hiking

I have been able to go hiking a few times in LA recently which has been really nice. But please note, do not hike to a waterfall on Memorial Day. It felt more like a waiting in lines at a theme park than hiking.

Seeing Connor

I got to go out to Arizona and see the love of my life, Connor James briefly one weekend. He’s almost 9 months now, wow. He’s crawling all over the place and can pull himself up to standing. My sister got me a webcam for my birthday so I can skype with him now. I miss him terribly. He hasn’t hit fear of strangers yet so he’s still happy to see me when I come. He’s really a very happy baby and hardly ever cries. You can take a toy away from him or take his pacifier away and it doesn’t seem to bother him a bit. He just moves onto something else. The last trip I was out there I was trying to predict his Meyers Briggs already. I can’t help myself. Right now I am predicting an ENTP. He seems pretty extroverted because he likes people to be involved in his playing; he doesn’t play very well by himself. It seem like he takes in the bigger picture of a new room not just focusing on the small details so I think he’s intuitive. The Thinker/ Feeler was hard to predict. The only reason I predicted T was because he’s not easily upset by anything. He’s not a very emotional baby. I really think he’s going to be a P because he really just goes with the flow of whatever is going on and doesn’t really stick to a good eating or sleeping schedule. My very J sister does not appreciate that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Car Flyer Collage

I hope South LAers will recognize this art. For those of you who do not live in South LA, we frequently get fliers on our windshield on a daily basis. This was really annoying me when I first moved to LA because I already have so much trash in my car. But then I decided that I would save them and make them into some sort of art project. This way, instead of getting annoyed when I found a flyer on my car, I would think, "Ooo new flyer for my project."

My roommate commented that the car is green in more than one way.