Due to my parents work schedules, my siblings and I spent a large part of our summers in daycare . As much as I appreciated and wanted to have a relationship with the adults that I was spending so much time with, a connection never felt possible. They spoke to me as though I couldn’t understand and didn’t seem to value what I had to say. This lack of connection didn’t stop in daycare. Even in elementary school, it was difficult finding teachers who showed compassion and understanding. These failed relationships made me even more determined to be kind to (children) those younger than me and make sure that everyone felt loved and cared for.
I currently work at the daycare that my siblings and I used to attend during the summers. I have worked with two year olds all the way up to six year olds. The teachers often wonder how I can get kids who on some days refuse to smile, to laugh and play, and the secret is in how I make sure that they all know how much I care about them. With students who are a bit older, I have led writing workshops with them that teach them how to express their stories and that their voice matters.
If I could work to make a larger impact in the lives of children, I would expand these efforts to help all kids know that they and their opinions are valued. When we show compassion toward children, they grow up to be confident teens and adults, capable of great change. They are less likely to develop self-esteem issues, and more likely to trust the adults around them when they do need help dealing with their emotions. I would do more workshops that teach children that the ability to express themselves is very powerful, and that they must always use it for good instead of malice. I would encourage the teachers and adults who interact with them to address them with maturity and compassion, and answer their sometimes endless streams of questions. I would encourage creativity and play – important factors in ensuring that children believe in themselves and the power of their dreams.
Even the simple tasks, like doing arts and crafts with them, complimenting them on their efforts, or acting along with the stories they dream up and act out, have a lot of value when it comes to motivating children to believe in themselves. Most importantly, I would continue to encourage love and kindness when giving attention to children. These affections can be in the form of hugs or just taking the time to understand why they are upset; they can take several minutes or just a few seconds; regardless of what form this caring takes, it is so important to making children feel loved.
I’m sure that I’m not the only child who experienced a lack of connection with the adults around them, but if we are all more conscientious of our actions, I could be the last. Making changes like these to how we interact with children is imperative to a more positive future.
Scholarship Essay by LyLena Estabine
UCA’s most recent Scholarship Essay Contest for High School Juniors and Seniors officially ended on May 15, 2020. While the theme has always been to explore ways to make a more caring world, our most recent Essay Contest specifically asked how they would make a more caring world in one of four categories – Children – Animals – Reforestation – Elderly. The winning essays have been posted and awards distributed.
Because there were so many impressive essays submitted from across the U.S., we decided to share many of these students’ inspiring caring actions with you in this publication. Through their essays, the students provide a refreshing insight into their minds and hearts, offering an in depth view of our world that we often overlook. They take us on a journey rich in knowledge, personal experience and creative solutions. It is our hope you will feel as informed and inspired as we do. We are proud to present to you the writings, thoughts and dreams for a more caring future through these articles.