Friday, August 10, 2007

Lessons from my Cat

My husband and I have a crazy cat. He loves to fly around our house like a mad-cat, and randomly jump against the wall. The real treat happens when he jumps and grabs a door frame, five feet up, and clings to both sides of the frame with all four paws, a wild look in his eyes as he checks to see if I noticed. Other times he takes the calmer approach and simply jumps against the wall six feet up. I have the scratched paint to prove it. One day, my husband pointed out that Wylie (our cat) is like a five-year-old trying to get attention. The "Look at Me!" mentality. Whatever he's doing, I can just hear him thinking, "Look how fast I can run!" or "Watch, I can jump high!" or "Did you see that? I jumped!"
Once the five-year-old behavior was pinpointed, I remembered a time at church one Sunday. Elaina, one of our kindergartners, first proudly showed me that her bangs had been cut (I didn't see a difference) and then kept asking what else was different about her hair. I wasn't sure, after all, nothing looked new, she simply wore two pig-tails. Turns out she'd never worn pig-tails before, so this was very exciting! And my Elaina encounter didn't end there. She then pro ceded to run back and forth across the room, calling out, "Look at me teacher Jill! Do you see how fast I am?"
The first couple laps back and forth were easy to be excited about. But when she kept going, my enthusiasm began to waiver. I still needed to make sure all the volunteers showed up, make contact with a specific parent, and get some fliers to another class.
My husband's observation of the similarity between our cat and a five-year-old made Elaina's antics click in my mind. She is at an age of discovery where every coordinated movement or new look is exciting! She is so proud of what she's capable of. But when I get caught up in all that I have to do on a Sunday morning, I loose sight of the most important aspect of my job--the children. Rather than looking up at all the adults and tasks, I should be looking down at all the kids. Getting excited about every accomplishment, celebrating a high running speed, and being equally excited about the first ever pig-tails.
They may not be jumping six feet in the air or grabbing door frames, but the kids in my ministry are designed wonderfully, and deserve all the praise and attention I can give.

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