Category Archives: Early Childhood

What was old is new again.

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Does anyone else love Op shopping? I love the searching. I love the bargains. I love giving something a new home. I do always wonder what purpose it served before it ended up at Vinnies though…

Did it sit in someone’s cupboard gathering dust? Did it have pride of place in someone’s pool room? Was it passed down through generations of a family? Was it made in another country? Did it survive a house fire? Was it just being a paperweight? What was its purpose?

Over the last 10 months or so I have often wondered what my purpose was. What am I supposed to do with my life? What is my next step? Where should I work? Who should I be? Am I a teacher? Should I study? Am I just the unemployed pyjama wearing Jess that has popped up so regularly (I do love my pjs but there is definitely more to me than that!)?

Recently I started working in a new job, a job in a cafe. I haven’t worked in hospitality since I was a uni and it was a really hard decision to start looking for work there. I ummed and ahhed about it for several months because I felt like I was talking a step backwards in my life. I felt like I would be a beautiful handmade statue being a doorstop, serving little purpose.

It was hard for me to put childcare behind me (at least for now) and go back in an industry I didn’t have the same passion for. But this job has turned out to be exactly what I need at the moment – giving me a new purpose. Just like turning an old fence into a brand new picture frame or a table getting a new lick of paint and looking snazzy again.

I always saw hospitality as a means to an end, it was the job I had to get me through uni the first time. I guess it still serves that purpose for me as I am currently studying again but it means more to me this time. It has brought stability back into my life after a long time of feeling like I was drowning. Stability in my finances, in my routine, in my happiness. I am feeling less anxious, I am feeling less overwhelmed and I’m excited to go to work again (which is nice after well over a year of not!).

So for any other How I Met Your Mother fans, it’s not like Barney says…new is not always better!

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What to do when your dreams don’t come true…

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So a week or so ago I wrote about following your dreams and how you should just listen to your heart and give it a go. It seemed so simple and straightforward. I was feeling excited about going after my dreams and studying my Masters in Child Play Therapy. I thought that was going to be my purpose for the year and it would open doors that I could only hope for. I was excited. I was pursuing what I thought was my dream.

And then…a couple of days ago I received an email to say I had not been accepted into the Masters course. I was devastated. I truly thought that this was the ‘thing’ I was supposed to be doing with my life. But it wasn’t going happen, at least not the way I had planned. I felt lost. I felt heartbroken.

What am I supposed to do this year then? How will I ‘change the world’? Why didn’t my dream become reality? What is my purpose? So many questions! So many emotions! For about 2 days after finding out, I felt truly broken. I was convinced that this was going to be the next step in my life, there were a lot of future dreams tied into this happening.

But then an Early Childhood job popped up and I realised I might have been using studying to avoid committing fully back into childcare. After being hurt (not physically) doing something I love so much, I’ve been avoiding it a little. I’ve been looking for alternatives – all of which have been linked to children in some way – and trying to not let my heart be broken again. But it’s in my blood (thanks Mum!), I can’t avoid it!

When you take that leap of faith and follow your dreams, there is definitely the chance of it not coming to fruition. But you know what? I would never have known what I wanted if I hadn’t tried. Sure, I am really sad because it had felt right and seemed to be such an obvious path to choose. There are other ways to study play therapy if that is really what my dream is.

All I know is that I have to keep following my heart, which means it occasionally might get broken. I won’t know exactly which way my life goes if I don’t try – if I stay where I am, I’ll be safe but I will miss out on a lot of opportunities, some of which might be life-changing.

There is no greater gift you give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born, and how you become most truly alive – Oprah

Follow your dreams, even if you have to make a detour to find out exactly what they are! It will all be worthwhile when you find what you were called to do.

 

Dream vs. reality

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The start of a new year always inspires me and motivates me, gets me thinking about all the possibilities to come. It’s weird how I can be so completely exhausted and drained from the year before, but somehow the new year rejuvenates me. Anyone else feel the same?

This year of all years my possibilities are endless. Not being tied down to a job at the moment allows me look into a lot of different options; studying, opening my own business of some kind, trying new things and having the time to be certain that the choices I make are the right ones for my future. The future that God has in store for me.

I have been having lots or conversations with different people who all ask the same question…so what are you going to do this year? And it gets me to thinking of all the dreams I have. The dreams I have career-wise, the dreams I have that are entrenched in Early Childhood and the dreams I have personally.

My dreams change from day to day but it can be a struggle when I sit down and really think about something I want to happen. How can this dream become a reality? What can I do to make it happen? Am I too poor to start my own business? Am I too shy to talk with people I don’t know? Am I too young to make a change? Will I fail?

Whatever your insecurities are, don’t let them stop you from pursuing your dreams. Sure, some of them won’t happen but you will never know until you give it a go! I mean, when I was younger I wanted to have musical stairs in my house. You know the ones that look like a piano and make a sound when you step on them? Let’s be honest, this is probably not going to happen – I’ve moved on a little since I was 10 – but I should never give up hope! Because you just never know, one day I might be playing Chopsticks on my front steps!

I think being practical is a really good idea when trying to pursue your dreams. If you really, really want to fly you probably aren’t going to be able to grow feathers. That’s not to say you won’t fly, you might just need to look into alternatives for flight. Don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t happen the way you expected. I think the key is to not give up, to try other avenues and ask others for help.

So from today I am going to start writing down all my dreams (not the one I always have while I’m asleep where my teeth fall out), writing down all the things I wish to accomplish in my life so that when an opportunity presents itself for me to open my own childcare centre or become an early childhood & family consultant in play or be a Mum or paint for a living or create dolls house furniture or get married or whatever it is God has planned. I’ll be ready and I’ll be prepared.

Don’t give up on your dreams! Make them into your own reality!

Take a breath

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Today I attended a conference. I LOVE conferences because they remind me of how passionate I am about children, play and how important play is in a child’s growth and development. If I were to get started on this particular topic I could talk for ages about it. But I won’t. I’ll save that for another day.

Today, an American guest speaker was there and he was super inspiring but he said something, kind of related to Early Childhood but most definitely related to life. Not just mine but everyones.

He said “Take a breath”. It seems a simple, silly, obvious thing but I feel like we really need to be reminded of this as we go through the ups and downs of our lives. What he was saying is true. Early Childhood is an emotionally draining career, we are required to drain ourselves to fill up the children in our care and that can take it’s toll.

For those of you who don’t work with children, you may not understand how much of ourselves we give each day. And this can cause us to become burnt out quickly. I am just so passionate about children and I cannot think of doing anything else! I would hate to became burnt out and not want to do it anymore!

Now I know that Early Childhood is definitely not the only job where people can become stressed and want out! But today I was reminded that we each need to take time for ourselves and TAKE A BREATH! That way we don’t become as stressed and can deal with it better when it does come our way. Coz unfortunately it will!

This is so super dooper important for us as humans! We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others, and isn’t that what it’s all about? Looking out for others?

So find something that relaxes you, rejuvenates you and refreshes you. It might be reading a book, going outside, going for a run (I cannot relate to this one but I’m sure it works for some!), drinking coffee or being creative – and do it!

Make some time, 5-10 minutes, every day if you can to take a breath. Let’s make it our mission to become the best person we can and spread that light that shines out each and every one of us around!!

All you need is love

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Guys, I’m watching Dr Phil again (not sure why that always gets me thinking about life and in turn about writing a blog post)! I’m rusty as it has been a while but here goes 🙂

I’m at home over Christmas and my Mum has recorded a whole bunch of episodes and we are watching a repeat from about a month ago. This episode is devastating and has lead me to several conclusions which I will get to but I can hear you all asking what the episode is about so I’ll explain that first.

It is a story about a mother who tried to kill herself and her daughter, and at first it sounds absolutely horrible, which it is!! But as the episode goes on a completely heartbreaking tale unfolds. This child is highly Autistic and extremely violent. This child beats up her mother and younger sister every 6 minutes. This child has knocked her mother unconscious twice, broken her bones and given her bruises. This child is a child. This child has no control. This child is scared.

Dr Phil interviews the mother in jail and she explains that she was trying to take them both to a better place so her youngest daughter would be safe, so her child with autism would be freed and because she was scared her daughter would eventually kill her. What a horrible, scary situation!

I cannot relate to this situation but I could see the pain, regret and love on this mother’s face. I could see she truly had run out of options and had lost hope, she said many times she loved her daughter so much and she just wanted to free her. You could see on her face how much she loved her daughter.

Now, I am not a parent and I am not an expert (not even close!) but I have seen a couple of children with Autism as an Early Childhood Educator over the last year or so. I have seen that they just cannot control their emotions and reactions the way that we generally can, when something changes or sneaks up on them they get scared and react in a way we wouldn’t.

My ‘Dr Phil conclusions’ came when I saw (through my tears) a video of this child physically beating her mother, this then faded into a montage of photographs of a mother and daughter who were friends, best friends. I could see that this mother just wanted to love her child and for her child to know that – and this is what I want for you to get out of my lazy Friday night – love your children, love you family, love yourself.

Your child needs to know that, no matter what, they are loved. I am not trying to lecture you (here I am, I’m a teacher, I know everything – not even! I know nothing!) I know you try your hardest and even when you are sleep deprived and haven’t eaten because you’ve been cleaning up snot and poo and vomit, you may get cranky or be short tempered. But you still love them! Just take a minute, breathe and love on them.

I am already passionate about children and ensuring they have the best life possible! I have learnt this year that it is so important for them to know they are special – even those who are a bit tougher to love! Children with Autism fall on a spectrum, some of them you wouldn’t know they have anything different about them and others struggle to cope with with many aspects of life. If you are a parent of an Autistic child, thank you! You are an amazing human being!

Going into this weekend and the coming year – show love – to your family, your children, your friends, your neighbours and those you encounter throughout your travels. You don’t know their story, their struggles, their life. We should never judge someone as we have no idea what their journey is! All we can do is pray!

Jess xx