Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The "goodbye"s have started.

I said my first goodbye last night, to my Rainbow and Brownie unit, after we realised we would have to cancel next week's meeting. It was really very sad, I love those crazy little kids and I'll miss them and our adventures. In the last three years we've been on pack-holidays, we've had an over-night stay at the National Marine Aquarium and we've spent days at theme parks, making dens, carol singing, going to jamborees... I could sit and list the things we've done all night, and just feel more and more sad with each minute. I really will miss them and the other leaders. To say my Tuesday nights will feel empty now may only be a slight over-exaggeration.

One of the girls in particular I will miss, S. I've known her since she was a Rainbow and I've watched her grow up despite her battles. She has severe ADHD and this has always meant she has struggled to integrate. She latched on to me a couple of years ago and I've had the privilege of working with her since then, either encouraging her participation or finding other things for us to do. We've had some fun making things from kilts to fairy dust and, acting on the spur-of-the-moment, running around the church doing crayon rubbings, and it's so nice as a teacher to have time like this with a child like her - if she were in my class I would, more than likely, be so concerned that her reading and writing were below expectation that I would never have time to embrace her interests and channel her creativity like this and we have had the most fun doing it.

Maybe that's a point for my future professional development, maybe I need to approach children like her in this way despite the formal education which would only ever constrain her progress. Maybe I should treat all children like S sometimes and just give them time to do what they want. Although in the foundation stage things tend to be more like this, but it's still a point I need to consider for next year. And maybe, just maybe, I should take a life lesson from her and give myself time to just do what I want, rather than feeling the need to fit into a routine. I know routines are one of my anxiety-management strategies, but maybe it's time to push past this and embrace life and it's spontaneity. Maybe S has helped me more than I will ever help her.

This is exactly why I love working with children.

And this is exactly why I'm not done with my voluntary work yet. Yes, it will be taking a hiatus for the next few years for my career to take full focus, but I will come back to it. Children keep you young, they keep things interesting and they open doors you forgot were even there. So call it a goodbye, but it's only a goodbye for now. This lot will all be grown up by the time I come around again, but I will go back. Girl guiding is a wonderful organisation, it brings so much to children and I'd highly recommend volunteering - it will bring a lot to you too.

I'll miss all of you sweethearts.


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