Angela - Allendale, Michigan
Entered on March 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: gratitude

I work early mornings at a daycare center. I find I learn a lot from the children I work with. Because of my experience with them, I have come to believe in the importance of showing appreciation.

I awoke one morning to see that eight inches of snow had fallen overnight. I had to be at work at seven and knew there was no way the roads were going to be plowed. I got stuck three times attempting to leave my apartment’s parking lot, and got stuck twice attempting to turn into the subdivision where the daycare is. In between, I crept along slowly, holding my breath at each of the three major curves I came across. I was afraid of losing control of my vehicle, and I was frustrated with the weather. It took me thirty minutes to make a drive that would have normally taken me ten. By the time I arrived at work, I was not looking forward to the rest of the day.

Once I got into the building, I realized that two children I would have been caring for would not be coming due to the inclement weather. The rest of the classrooms were going to be down in numbers as well. At the time I arrived, there were only three children in the entire building and three adult supervisors. I realized I could have called off and slept in, and there would have been absolutely no problem. I was frustrated, irritated, and annoyed. This day was not starting off very well, and I was all ready becoming anxious about how my drive home was going to be.

I walked into the preschool classroom I normally work in, preparing myself to sign in and begin setting up the classroom. Much to my surprise, there was all ready a 4-year-old little girl standing there waiting for me. She had been in a younger class until she saw my car pull into the parking lot and she had gotten permission to come into her regular classroom to wait for me. I would have certainly enjoyed a moment or two to calm myself a bit before being confronted by this child, and found myself getting slightly annoyed as she followed me into the office to sign in. She proceeded to tell me this long drawn out story about everything she had done that morning, and I politely smiled and nodded, pretending to focus on her words. Once she finished her story, she said simply, “I’m glad you’re here!” Those four words completely changed my perspective in so many ways. Although I had not wanted to be there, it was nice to know she appreciated my presence.

This 4-year-old little girl taught me more than I think I could ever teach her. I think of her often, as I find myself showing more appreciation to people. My mood was greatly changed by a few kind words of appreciation, and I hope I can do the same for others.