Isn’t he adorable with his milk mustache?
For the past couple of weeks we’ve been going to various child development centers (CDCs). Step Ahead has four CDCs surrounding Khao Lak and at each center, I’m constantly amazed with the teachers. Each CDC is built to reflect the teaching method of Montessori schools and are filled with little blocked off sections here and there. Different sections teaches the kids about science, English, practical life skills, reading, and even geography!
I feel like a giant dodging among the little ones but as I walk through the different sections, I can’t help but think, “I wish I went to a school like this when I was young!” But a fun, cool and organized school comes at the expense of hard labor. Each center has between 3-6 women and they strive to give attention to each child. Just as the teachers discipline when a child pushes another, they also laugh when a child does something silly. Just as they stand in front of the children during lessons, they are also on their knees giving their full undivided attention for the hundredth time ‘oohing’ and ‘awing’ at a little piece of incomprehensible clay molded by little hands. After being at the CDC for an hour and a half, I was exhausted by the end. Little children are a workout. Seriously. It’s hot and humid here in Thailand but the sweat on my back isn’t just from the weather. It’s from running here, picking up a lost sandal there, grabbing one child off another, holding one with an arm, wiping a snotty nose, getting one water to drink, picking up clay droppings, waiting to catch one as they slip down a slide, and the list goes on and on. How do the teachers do it? Every. Single. Day. It beats me.
Despite the chaos that comes with looking after children, they are truly little sunshines or nuggets (as a good friend of mine likes to call them). I love watching how each teacher shows love for the kids in their own different ways and how they balance motherly qualities as well as professional ones. As I watch them play on the playground, I realize a child can make you feel exhausted and emotionally drained but then out of the blue, they do something that has you shaking with laughter. Or they say something so adorable that breaks a smile on your fatigued face. They are powerful little beings and their wild, creative minds and quick, momentary actions eases even the oldest of souls.
The things that they do and the things that they say so easily makes our walls of adulthood fall down, until we remember the beautiful simplicity and content joyfulness of what it was like to be a carefree child again. No wonder Jesus said, ‘be like the little children.’