Friday, January 11, 2013

Preschoolers and Words

One of the things that I miss most about working at a preschool is watching my little friends play circle time. Once a day, everyone sits in a circle and we play games, sing songs, and read stories. It's one of the most pleasurable times in the morning. And during free play, some of the older kids loved to pretend that they were the teacher leading circle time.

The first part that I love is how the kids listen. When the teacher is leading, sitting still, taking turns and keeping mouths quiet are very difficult tasks. But when their friend is leading, they are all ears. They will sit quietly and patiently for more than 20 minutes. It reminds of the importance and value of surrounding ourselves with godly friends. They often have more influence on us than we realize, for better or for worse.

The second thing I love is listening to their little conversations.

"Now everyone take two scoots back and sit criss-cross-applesauce; I don't have room for my legs!"

(Hands on hips, head tilted and eyebrow raised), "What do you need?"

"Now it's Jesse's turn. (Pause) Good job, Jesse! You did great!"

"Now, Aubrey, you need to share with your friends!"

It's adorable to hear their little voices sounding so professional and authoritative, but it can also be intimidating, because what they say is word for word what we as their teachers have said to them. They hear everything, and they remember. It is a good check on us to listen to them - are these the words that we want them to hear?

My little friends are the ones who remind me more than anyone else the power of my words. But my words don't just matter to them - they matter to everyone I speak to. They have the power to build up or to tear down. And either way, they are usually remembered.

The people who push me towards Christ the most are often the people whose words build me up and encourage me, whose words preach truth in a way that lovingly convicts my heart. My preschoolers helped to show me what my words sound like. I pray that they continually grow in reflecting Jesus to those around me.

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