Saturday, September 09, 2006

Choices

I worked in a preschool classroom for nearly 5 years. The average age of the children I worked with was four. Let me tell you, 5 years of 4 year olds taught me a lot more than I think I taught them! Certainly, the lessons I learned were more profound that ABC's and 123's. One of the harder lessons for me was coming to grips with the fact that I had choices. Every single day.

I remember working in the classroom on days when I was frustrated with things that had absolutely nothing to do with the kids that comprised that class. I remember days I chose to set my frustration aside, and work with the children that God had put in my care. Those days almost always went well, even if at the end of the day, my personal problems were still sitting, waiting for me. I also remember the days where I chose not to shelve my personal frustrations. Those days were bad. Those days, the kids were edgy, my coworkers tiresome, the job I loved felt like a cell where someone else was jingling the keys just outside my grasp. I would go home and think, 'this was the worst day ever. Why, oh why, did everything go so badly?' It is only now, in mothering that I have learned that the moods of my children hinge in part on how joyful I choose to be. I didn't see it then, and often wondered at how the classroom's emotional thermostat swung so drastically. It has taken me quite some time, and literally hundreds of kids to learn that joyfulness is a choice and not a coincidence.

Empowered with this newfound knowledge, I find interactions with everyone around me to be much more bearable, and dare I say it, even enjoyable, on those days where I wake up and think, 'Lord, thank you for today, but do I really have to be around people?' Trust me, I am not the most sociable of creatures. But learning that I have choices over my own personal mood-o-meter keeps me friendlier, thereby honoring my Lord with a joyful countenance.

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