A puzzle and a word


My little sister has always talked about growing up and having children. At a very young age, she asked my mother if she would have to go to college to be a mommy. I was skeptical. Perhaps it was an eldest child thing, having younger siblings always around, but the idea of children sounded like an awful lot of work. It wasn’t that I didn’t like kids, but I was young, really a child myself, and I thought that spending my time reading books and taking vacations sounded like more fun. Some days, I didn’t even want a husband. Just give me my books.

I warmed to childcare, babysitting several hours a week through high school, but I was never interested education, as some people suggested when I started looking at colleges. “But you’re so good with kids,” I’d hear. “You’d be a great teacher.”

No thank you. One, maybe two, once I was married and had enjoyed my married life a bit. But a whole classroom-full sounded exhausting.

I loved my writing classes. I felt confident in my choice. I loved my professors. Thrived in the environment of learning and growing. Place me in a room full of word-lovers, and I think I’ve died and gone to paradise.

But I did enjoy children. And I missed them being around when I was on a campus full of young adults.

One summer, I subbed in a children’s church class on a Sunday morning. As I helped a little girl put together a puzzle, talking her through the decision of where to place a piece, the teacher of the class was watching.

“You’re studying Elementary Ed?” she asked. When I said no, she was surprised. “Oh, I thought you were. You’re good with them.”

It was a small thing. A trivial sentence or two, and she’s no doubt forgotten. I forgot, too, for a while. But the word of encouragement stayed with me. When I graduated college, her words encouraged me to plug into my church through serving in the children’s ministry, which I’ve loved. They encouraged me to pursue a position as an elementary education tutor, which has been fulfilling and exciting as I see children’s minds grow and open.

I don’t remember this woman’s name, or really even who it was. She wasn’t the only one to recognize and encourage me in this area, but today, I want to thank her for taking that moment to speak Truth into my heart. Wes Stafford has written two books that I’ve read recently: Too Small to Ignore and Just a Minute (which I wrote about here). In both books, he discusses the idea of how words spoken and time taken to encourage a child shape and form the person they will be. The words of the woman who encouraged me one Sunday morning as a little girl and I put together a puzzle gave me confidence that maybe I could teach a little one. I feel so at home in my role as tutor that no doubt God would have prodded and nudged me here otherwise, but regardless, I’m still grateful for her and for the others who have been placed in my life to encourage me.

And as a side note, in case you’re still wondering, I’ve rather changed my mind about saying, “No thank you” to having children. Now it’s something I long for, in due time. Though I’m still a bit wary of the classroom bit.


I enjoyed reading Darcy’s thank you note on her blog, Message in a Mason Jar, and I was inspired to join her in a note of thanksgiving to begin the new year. Do check out her post and share in the comments (here or there!) if you have a note of your own!


4 responses »

  1. This reminds me of my friend who can look at the people around her and say what their gifting is and what would be a good avenue for using that gifting. She is an educator by trade but she’d make a great life coach, too. And don’t those two go together so well?! Your post here is such a good example of why we shouldn’t keep our encouragement to ourselves. It is so powerful to hear from someone else what they see in you. So glad you linked up your thank you note. Thank you!

    • She sounds wonderful! That is definitely a wonderful trait for an educator and one I continue to work on in myself. Thanks for initiating a link-up and allowing me to join in!

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