Who Really Cares About the Children?
There are times in each of our lives when we must stop to think who is caring for the children? Who cares about the children? Who is responsible for the well-being of children? Who is responsible for teaching the children? When and where does a caring attitude of love and kindness begin with children? Shouldn't every child have someone who cares?
- Does Anyone Really Care?
- What Does Caring Mean?
- I Told Her to Get Up Off the Ground!
- Shouldn't Every Child Have Someone Who Cares?
- My Drugs Come Before These Children
- Why Care?
- What Are Children's Thoughts on Caring?
- Caring When It Seems Like It Is In Vain
- Caring Benefits Everyone!
- Children Learn Caring Through Experiences!
- Caring Is An International Experience!
- Caring From the Heart!
- Heartfelt Caring Specialties!
Does Anyone Really Care?
It has been a wonderful experience to come into the world as a newborn baby! It has been quite an honor to have come to life with family members present to witness entry into this world. Since a baby has never been here before, there is an internal belief that someone cares. Yes there is someone who cares that I am a helpless being who will rely on the caring of someone who will be responsible for seeing the growth and development of this child. Surely caring becomes a very important part of what happens after birth. There are some caring people who will take it upon themselves to be willing to make a sacrifice for the love and care of a child. There will be those who will have a personal obligation to help the child grow up and become a successful being and contribute to our society! Yes there are people who care!
What Does Caring Mean?
Caring means that there is an internalization of a feeling of wanting to help, to take care of, giving something or someone your serious attention. It also means to take heed, to be cautious, provide protection and to take charge.
Also it is known as a temporary keeping; to be concerned or to find solutions and have thoughts or regards for others. It also means to be concerned or have special preferences towards helping.
To some who have an inclination, liking, fondness or affection, compassion or caring attitude, it's a special time of life. Caring is also when one gives effort that requires a considerable amount of activity and exertion of energy.
To feel concern for and about others while wishing, desiring and liking to take care of, be alert about, to be careful with- to watch over- to be responsible for- to act on, deal with. For many it means to attend to.
Have you ever stepped out and saved someone's life?
It was during my younger days, when I often look back and think that perhaps I was bolder or braver in my thoughts and actions. Or was it just that I was young and wasn't too afraid of making a difference? Well to be honest, that's a gift that God gave to me a long time ago. I just always thought that it was right to stand up for justice and those things that are right.
Sometimes caring calls for us to stand up for justice in brave, unexpected ways!
I Told Her to Get Up Off the Ground!
Well, one morning when I was around 24 years old, I came out of my apartment building around 8:00 am. To my amazement, I walked upon an unexpected domestic violence situation. But this situation was not something that I decided to see and act like I did not see.
The apartment complex had many university students, some faculty and a few community families. It was a very nice area and pretty safe overall. As I came out to go to my car, on my way to teaching my preschoolers and kindergartners, I heard a cry that I will never forget in my whole life.
She was crying, "Please, please, please..." He had gotten in the car and made her lay down on the ground, underneath the car. He was going "to run over her." He had started the car. So regardless, what his intentions were, I immediately knew what my intentions were. I went to her and said, impulsively, "Get up off that ground. Right now, you get up off the ground." He was so shocked and she was so afraid. But when he realized how bold I was, he wasn't sure as to what to do next. I went and got her hand, pulled her up off the ground and told her to come on with me. He stood there still looking at me.
To be honest, I really didn't care what he was thinking, but I was not going to be a silent witness to a murder or serious injury. She got in the car with me, and I took her about eight blocks away to her mother's house. She was frantically crying- "I can't believe he was going to kill me." I said to her that's why you need to get away from him now and never take him back. She went to her mother's home. I never saw that guy near our apartment ever again. It wasn't until a few days later that I thought how much danger I put both of our lives in- but it was a situation that could have gone into total disaster for all of us. But I cared, and she was someone I had never met before.
So it's not that we have to care for someone we know!
Shouldn't Every Child Have Someone Who Cares?
As I got more into my teaching career, I began to find out that each of us have responsibilities and obligations to help make sure that all children have the experience of having someone in their lives who care. There were many children who had relatives and family members who cared, but some of life's burdens dealt them some blows that seem to overcome them.
I remember getting a call around 2:00 am, scared me- especially when the telephone rings that time of the day. As I awoke from a groggy sleep, the person on the other end of the telephone asked me had I seen a parent of a four year-old child in my classroom? The answer- not since she picked the child up from school at around 3:00 pm. earlier. Why the urgent call?
This mom of two who was approximately twenty-two years old, left the two year-old and sibling, Missy, four years old in the middle of the street in front of our school. Luckily one of the neighbors saw them and rushed out to see what was the matter.
The four year-old told the person that "mommy left us here. She said she would be back." Both of the children were shivering and crying according to this witness. They did locate the mother around three hours later.
Wow, who would do this to their children and expect the children to feel loved and/or cared for? Why would this mom leave her children out in the street all alone? Didn't she fear for their lives? Did she not worry about someone kidnapping or abducting them?
So I wasn't sure what they were going to do with the children, with the mother and/or where would these children go. I was surprised when those who wanted to question me as the teacher about the care of the children. They were not concerned about things like whether the children were well kept, fed or properly taken care. I can still remember one of the social service agencies making a statement about the four year-old certainly had not missed any meals. The child was of a bigger bone structure and therefore they felt like the child must have been well-fed. Neither of the two children appeared to be malnourished.
Every child should have someone who cares, so that there will be some security in each child's life.
My Drugs Come Before These Children
Well, after the mom of the two children brought them to school later in the afternoon the next day, I received another shocker? When I asked the mother about the children being left in such an unsafe place. Her immediate response, "Sorry my drugs come before these children, " said mom. Wow! What a shocker for me.
After I got over the shocking experience of what this mom said, I began to think about what she said in a non-judgmental way. After all when you develop a drug habit with use of some of the most high-powering, so addictive drugs, what else would a user say?
When an urge comes before the user that overpowers the body and mind, what do they do or what do they usually do? One is the inconsideration for others. The other is how do you separate who you love and what you think you love? So the question is was there a love for the drug or an addiction to the effects of them? Regardless of the answer, what the mother told me represented her true feelings. This feeling caused her to leave her children in the middle of the street in the middle of the night. Did she do this in hopes of someone finding them and taking them to safety? Was she afraid to leave them home alone? Was she crying out for help? Well after all some people did come by with caring hearts and gave the children a helping hand!
Why is it that someone came along and helped these children in the middle of the night? Is there a natural-God-given instinct for caring for others? Do we sometimes do this because it is a call of duty? Do we do this because it is one of the expectations out of life for us? Is it something we do because deep down inside of our hearts, it hurts when we know there are others in need and we pass by. In the bible there are several stories of people needing help and someone walking idly by or crossing the street and not giving a caring hand.
So when people wanted all of the little children out of the way, Jesus told them to "suffer little children.... He wanted to make sure that no one harmed these little children.
Jesus was the first, great CARER of people many years ago during biblical days. See if you remember any of these very important biblical events when Jesus demonstrated an attitude of caring! Not only did he have a caring attitude, but actions to prove it.
1) The First Miracle- Water made to Wine
2) A leper is healed
3) The woman who had been afflicted for twelve years
4) Raising of Jairus' Daughter
5) The Two Blind Men
6) A Man with A Withered Hand
7) Feeding Five thousand
8) Jesus Walks on the Sea
and many more!
What Are Children's Thoughts on Caring?
Children have very interesting thoughts about caring. They often have natural instincts for demonstrating a caring attitude. One day, I remember they brought a four year-old blind little boy to be a student in my classroom. The truth of the matter is that I had never had a blind child in my classroom. It was amazing how I naturally and quickly learned what to do with him. The first thing I learned was I would treat him just like I treated the children who were not blind nor visually impaired. I began by showing him around the room so that he would become familiar with the space. He remembered all of the centers and all of the areas of the classroom. Then I began to introduce him to the students in the classroom. He touched each of their faces. He could remember their names by the features he touched on their faces- pretty brilliant.
After his initial adjustment to our classroom, the children taught me what caring was all about.
1) Five year-old Amika, went over to the child and said, "let me hold your hand when we walk down the hallway, I can tell you where the turns are." (caring)
2) Four year-old Tommy asked the child "Do you know what these are?" (markers)
He took the lids off of each one (smelly ones) and let his new friend smell them- while he described the smell rather than the color. He said, "This is a grape one." (purple)
"This a lemon one." (yellow) (caring)
3) Now it was time for lunch- four- year-old, Malik and four- year-old Anissa decided to show him how to go through the lunch line and they were so adorable telling him what was on the menu. Anissa kept telling him, "Drink all of your milk so that your eyes can heal and so you can see." (caring)
4) Five year-old Jordan was always a leader in the class anyhow. So luckily I decided to take the video camera outside on this particular day. We were making a video for our next parent meeting, to share what the children had been doing and learning at school. On this day, our new student was going up the slide, and Jordan was standing right near by telling him, "step, step,step,step, step, step,step,step,step-now get ready to slide down." She guided him up all eight steps and then guided him safely to the top to slide down. Then she quickly ran to the front of the slide to help him when he slid down! (caring)
When I showed the video at the parent meeting, there were tears in every parent's eyes with the outside scenery! (Caring)
Caring When It Seems Like It Is In Vain
Well they kept sending me more and more preschoolers from the local area agency who had very serious behavioral challenges. I used to wonder why they kept sending me so many of these children. Then one day the child psychologist said to me, "Gloria you are so good with these children that we send them to you because you care." Well then I felt a little better.
When they brought a little African American boy, age four to my class they were very honest and right up front. "Joe has been kicked out of four preschool programs already. We are bringing him to you as a last resort." Wow, I thought of how sad it was for this child at this age to have been kicked out of that many programs.
I didn't want to be one of those people who develop a negative attitude towards some children based on what other people say about them. I always wanted people to get to know me for who I really was and not for what other people think. So I was determined to see if I could independently find out why Joe was kicked out of all of these programs. But also since I didn't believe in putting children out of my classroom, I had my work "cut out" for me.
So then one might ask, "Why should I care? Why shouldn't I just do like the others before me and pass him on to the next person? Deep down in my heart, I knew I could not do that. I was trained with the top early childhood professionals in the United States. I knew better. I had a solid foundation in best practices, what is best for young children and how to strive to meet their individual needs. We were never taught to put children out of our classrooms or programs. After all wasn't that what we went to school for- to learn how to work with these children and not only the good, smart or well-mannered ones?
Also, I had my Doctorate degree in elementary, early childhood education and CHILD PSYCHOLOGY. Then I should know at least a little about this child's behaviors!
So since I cared, I started the mission of helping this child and his mother who was such a beautiful and saddened person because of what was happening with her child. She looked at me with beams of hope in her eyes, as if crying out to ask me to please not give up on her son!
Caring in these situations can benefit everyone!
Caring Benefits Everyone!
I decided to talk with the child for a few minutes to see if I could detect any special needs or lack of understanding on what was considered as appropriate or inappropriate behaviors. So there were no evident concerns through our conversation. His verbal skills were advanced. He certainly could or should be able to express himself verbally.
Then bang, we had our first and initial confrontation. My classroom had a loft that was high to the ceiling-child centered that teachers from everywhere envied. He was upstairs playing and I am certain delighted to have this "never-before high-in-the-air experience. When I started singing the "Clean-up" song all of the children started cleaning up because they were familiar with these types of routines. Joe kept right on playing as if oblivious to everything and everyone around him. We were preparing to go to music.(special area outside of the classroom) I asked Joe once to come down (from the loft) and he ignored me. I asked him to come down twice and this time, he said."No." The third time I said, "Joe I am asking you to come down now or I will have to come up there and help you come down," in my firmer voice. He did not come down so I trotted up the steps and helped him down without any resistance. I reminded him that when it's clean-up time and I ask him to come down to do so right then or the next time, he won't get to play in that area. He said, "okay." Then I asked him to get in line behind the other children, and he complied. But upon our return to the classroom was when I found out what the real need was. He bit another child for what seemed like no apparent reason. But when I spoke to him about it- he seemed evasive- "yes I bit him, yes I bit him." That was it! But the real truth came out that helped me find some answers about this little boy. I had a half day substitute teacher come to my classroom for about four hours. Upon my return, she said to me, "I hope that your insurance is paid up." I really thought she was just kidding with me, but she was very serious. Joe had bitten her really bad on her leg. I thought , no you did not bite the substitute teacher! But here is how caring benefits everyone- when I asked Joe what made him bite our special and wonderful teacher- BOOM- ANSWER- "I love her, that's why I bit her." Well to say the least I was quite shocked and thought, well you sure had misconstrued love! I told him we don't hurt the people we love. We don't bite the people we love." If you love them, then you treat them nicely and show them that you care. The substitute teacher cared, and told him that she would put a bandaid on it. He learned from this and then moved on to the positive stages of behaviors- Caring does benefit everyone!
Children Learn Caring Through Experiences!
There are so many things that we can do to help people learn more about caring. So we begin by caring for and taking care of the pets in our classroom on a daily basis. Each day at least three children are assigned as pet helpers. Another two help water the plants!
1) Children learn about caring when they are able to help take care of a sibling- learn how to be loving and caring!
2) Children learn from classroom experiences like during the loving and caring unit, they share secret pals and make surprise gifts for a secret classmate- who is identified later.
3) Children learn about caring when we visited the nursing home and took cards for our friends there.
4) Children learn caring when one of our classmates lost everything in a fire and we collected items for the family.
5) Children learn about caring when one of the children in our class's mom was diagnosed with cancer. We made special family treats for them at least once a week.
6) There are many more- but there are two little girls missing in our community and the outpouring of love and caring are beyond words or measurement.
Caring Is An International Experience!
I am amazed that all over the world people care. People care in some of the most devastating and sad environments. We still see throughout the world where someone still believes in loving and caring for others. Even in war torn areas, people still help each other search for missing relatives. Or we find people helping with the burial of a found-loved one.
In many parts of the world children are taught at a very young age to help care for family. They are taught "family first." They have an obligation to see that all family needs are met.
Also the elderly are well respected in all parts of the world. As a major part of caring we learn respect and how to care for those who lived beyond middle age and have moved on to elderly adulthood. In many cultures the elderly is never put in any type of care facility. They believe in caring for them until death- there is a caring life-long commitment.
Many of the elderly become known as historians, storytellers and carriers of the family history.
Caring From the Heart!
Caring from the heart is what really caused me to move to a totally strange place for employment. But it all started when I came to Iowa for my interview for a teaching job. As the people who were on the committee to interview me took me around, I will never forget a little four year-old boy, Brian. He ran up to me as I was passing through the pre-school- kindergarten classroom where there was an opening for a teacher. Little Brian was a child that I had never seen before. But he ran up to me and put his arms around me saying,
"I love you." Wow, what an attitude of caring for a child so young! I thought about it that night and that little boy helped determine the future of my life- I decided then that the children in Iowa needed me more than any of the other offers I had in the southern states!
Well his caring from the heart, convinced me that I was needed to help care from the heart!
Heartfelt Caring Specialties!
As we think back over our lives, all of us can think of something, someone and or somewhere where there are still memories of heartfelt caring specialties. These are the days and times that will never leave our hearts and minds. Sometimes they can be major discoveries, successes, accomplishments, achievements and of course beating the odds.
When I saw the guy described as a double amputee from
South Africa compete against the fastest track runners in the world, I couldn't help but care after I saw him run and come in second place. It touched my heart knowing that he had a heart of gold- in that he believed that he too could win just like the others.
I remember seeing the Tides of Hope program go to different disaster areas and show how they cared. They wanted to help people's lives to still be brighter even after disasters.
What touched my heart the most was when I saw those workers in the orphanage in Haiti, washing clothes on their hands for the children to have clean clothes. But "Tides of Hope" went over and took 10 big washers and dryers. These washers and dryers were like heartfelt caring specialties since the people there had never seen washers and dryers before But a be even though they had never used such machines before, the end had come for them spending so many hours washing on their hands with such intense labor. Now that they had these brand new washers and dryers that they had to learn to use, they could now spend more time with the children- that showed a lot of loving, caring and sharing. All of the smiles on everyone's faces made it a day to remember heartfelt caring specialties on behalf of families all over the world!