The time I lived by the mountains and children changed my life

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis particular season of my life is one I’ll never forget; it was a turning point you could say. I was searching for something I thought I wanted in a career, when all of a sudden something different came along and it was more than I could have asked for. Like serendipity. I think of how God works in His loving and adoring ways . . .He knew how much I needed those little angels in my life as it was also the time I became sick with a disease that started hurting my body. I remember my first couple of months with the children, how I could effortlessly pick them up and put them on a swing or help them get across the monkey bars or chase them on the playground. That quickly changed one morning when all of a sudden I was barely able to get myself out of bed. Around half of the school year left was a struggle for me. I was no longer able to pick them up or run like I used too. The disease spread to most my joint tissues and it killed me that I wasn’t able to give 100% of myself to the children. I became weak and slow. However, I didn’t quit. Each of the children in their own special way taught me something amazing. More than anything, helping others with disabilities brings joy to my soul and peace to my bones.

 October 8, 2013

I started working with children with special needs on September 11th. I have since been moved around from the SSN classroom to now the CSD classroom (autistic classroom). I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else for 7 hours a day than helping these children. I absolutely LOVE being in children’s lives. Sure they’ll occasionally kick me, spill food on me, run away from me down the halls, go missing, talk back to me, throw fits or kick walls. . .but they also will laugh with me, run away from me when I’m chasing them on the playground, giggle with screeching delight when I catch them, hug me randomly, cuddle on me when we’re reading, or smile at me when they see me walk in their classroom to pick them up. I could go on. 

Just today little “S” and I were working on colors. He would say “graph” when I held up the color gray yesterday so we worked on the color gray together and today he remembered how I was helping him do it! Now when I hold up the color gray he says, “GRAY!” He’s smart. They all are just so smart! Some know all the colors and numbers up to 100 and are fascinated with everything when we hit music class (they’re adorable when they lightly tap the piano– not so much when they’re throwing flutes on the floor or kicking drums heehee!). Some need correction and we are also there for that, but thankfully the whole day isn’t filled with using your mama voice on them. A lot of the time they just want a good ole fashioned pat on the back. And let’s be real here– the discipline part to these kids is so tough for me. Real tough

Maybe some days I’ll go home more sore than others from running all day or I’ll become just really exhausted, but I always have this huge smile driving home. I don’t remember the times when any of them were being bad, just the times when they hugged me, laughed with me, or when little “K” asked me to chase her around the whole playground and through the tubes (I paid for that later). She was screaming with delight the whole time and this is enough for me; being with children that are so often misunderstood.

She was terrified of this huge waterfall in the Denver aquarium! Not going to lie, it took me by surprise too.
She was terrified of this huge waterfall and flashing blackouts in the Denver aquarium! Not going to lie, it took me by surprise too.

It’s about changing their lives everyday I go to work one little step at a time. If during the whole day I could only get one of the students to behave and sit down quietly in one of their classrooms for more than 30 minutes, that’s enough. My patience shows through the most where I work. It teaches me God’s patience and I am humbled. Wow, God is so patient with us. If this requires patience. . . I sometimes wonder how God does it when He’s waiting for us to turn back to Him when we’ve gone astray? Food for thought.

Oh, this little one. Pure bliss to my heart.
Oh, this little one. Pure bliss to my heart.

When recess comes, I become over-protective. If I see teasing you better believe I’ll say something (I only had to do this twice, but I wish bullying never existed) and then I have eyes like a hawk (insert creepy hawk sound). Though I am specifically watching the kids I am in charge of, I see teasing all around and not just with the special needs kids. I help in whatever way I can. I’m not perfect, trust in that, but in my heart it feels like I’m filled with God’s milk and honey everyday from the joy of his beloved little children. As if the moment one of them grabs my hand my veins pump faster with God’s love. It’s like my shot of espresso for the day when one of them starts off my morning with a tight hug– though most mornings one of them is spilling their milk all over their tray or crawling under the cafeteria table!

These aren’t all the little ones, but almost all. They’re the best, coolest fishes I’ve ever been around. And I’ll never forget them.
These aren’t all the little ones, but almost all. They’re the best, coolest fishes I’ve ever been around. And I’ll never forget them.

I don’t know where I’ll be after this job but the one thing I’m sure of is my heart grows more everyday I’m surrounded by God’s little ones. It’s about the children, not me. I am just a vessel spreading the best of God’s love that I can to these children. All I want in life is for God to use me for the betterment of children’s lives and what He wills, all the days of my life. One of the greatest quotes ever was by C.S. Lewis, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

I’ve learned in life that sometimes you don’t find your different passions when you’re desperately seeking. Sometimes passion comes and finds you in a place you never knew existed within; this is what I experienced. These children now hold a special place in my heart. I suppose working with special needs children has its tiring and frustrating moments but more than not, it is full of an indescribable joy only you can find out once you’ve worked with them. They insert a new joy into your veins that makes your heart ache even thinking about the day when your time with them will end. They’ve changed my life and I am forever grateful for what they have taught me; and what I will be taught in the future as well.

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20 thoughts on “The time I lived by the mountains and children changed my life

  1. rolerrol

    I love this…..Your passion can be clearly felt in this post. I work with kids as well and I want my passion to be as much as yours!!! What is the point of doing something if you don’t love it and you are not willing to put your all into it???
    That is what I have been challenged by as I have read this post…..Thanks!! :)))

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    • Savannah Hardcastle

      There is def. no point in doing something you don’t love. The point in that statement is if you don’t love what you’re doing, how can we work productively and therefore- actually help people fruitfully?
      No problemo, and thanks for reading it.

      Like

  2. Rachel

    Wow. This is beautiful. The paragraph about patience –everyone needs to realize that. I worked in a child care in high school and a little in college and NO ONE had patience with an autistic boy who would come. He would act up, hit, bite, etc when the kids messed with him and when the teachers yelled at him. When I would actually TALK to him and show him that I cared he would calm down and be so sweet! I also compared that patience to the patience God has for us. I love this: “Wow, God is so patient with us. If this requires patience. . .I sometimes wonder how God does it when he’s waiting for us to turn back to him when we’ve gone astray?” It really puts things in perspective.

    Also, that last paragraph is something I needed. I’m 24 and still have no idea what I want to be. (besides a wife and mother) Got the wife part down but I’m not rushing the kids thing LOL. I just wish I could find something that I am passionate for. I work as the church secretary right now and though I love working in the church, it IS a desk job. I feel like I could be doing something so much more. This is where the need for patience comes in I guess :)

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    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi Rachel, wow thank you for your thoughtful feedback. . .it means a lot. Exactly what you said, is exactly what I do at work currently, sometimes “anger” fails when dealing with these kids, more than not when I’m just being me-kind hearted and warm- they will comply like magic!

      It means even more that you read something that you needed. You’re not far off from me age wise; I’m 22 except I’m not married! ha ha
      If I could spark some kind gestures, this may open up your horizons a bit-
      I too, right now am wondering where my career will end up. I have a B.A. and right now I’m in school for my M.A. in Psychology. I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing with it, BUT I recently came across a quite rewarding career choice -they’re called Child Life specialists- and their job is to minimize the psychological stress and trauma of sick children in pediatric units and make them feel warm, not scared, and at peace by doing different types of therapies. If this interests you, you only need a B.A. degree in nothing specific so long as you can become certified. Check out this link: http://handtohold.org/resources/meet-the-provider/what-does-a-child-life-specialist-do/
      and then this link for requirements: http://www.childlife.org/Certification/Getting%20Certified/index.cfm
      It’s pretty straight forward and this is something I’m thinking of doing as a career because no matter what- I have been called to help children.
      Right now, I work as a paraprofessional, and if I could do this all day and live off of it for my life–I would. But I can’t live reasonably, this is why I’m exploring different opportunities! You are young- and so am I. THESE are the times in our lives (before we have children too) to complete goals, certifications, experience jobs, degrees, etc. to reach a career we can support our future children with! I don’t know what you’re passionate about- but I find that not many people can say they’re not passionate or at least have a heart for helping children!
      I like to help people get in touch with things like this, because I also know the struggle of the so many pressures of society and the world and sometimes it can flood our minds and souls to the point where it even clouds what our passions are. . .I feel like I’m coming out of the fog and seeing things more clearly lately.
      Take your time, do fun research, maybe online certifications or whatever, but I know you will find a career in which you can glorify God in.
      In Him,
      Savannah

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    • Rachel Wilson Tidwell

      Thank you so much for sharing. It is comforting knowing that others are in the same boat as I am. I am so happy to know that you are following your passions! I will continue to pray and wait patiently and check out the links you sent. I have comfort in knowing that God is for me. That is the big picture I need to fix my eyes on :)

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    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Oh my gosh!! I’m still getting use to your married last name, and thought this was a Rachel from a blog I follow…(hahaha).
      Either way, guess I would have said the same thing.
      Yes def. ppl in the same boats, I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t been SO discouraged a day here or there ever since I’ve moved out here. I literally had one of those days where I sat on my couch and cried out to God why am I here?
      But like one of favorite bible verses of all time says, “Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”-John 13:7. I have worried about my career so much only because I don’t want to live off of GRADplus loans to pay my rent and bills forever but then I want a career that I go to work everyday and just want to be there more than anything-like my job now (but I can’t live off it.) The world is so complicated! I wish money didn’t matter but it does and I know God will always provide a way. I’m keeping my head up knowing God is going to bless me with a career with children but make a living off of it to support my future. I shall continue to pray for you as well, thanks for the convo, Rachel! :)

      Like

  3. Freedomborn - Set Free Eternally

    How wonderful Savannah! both for you and the Children, I felt your Joy as you shared. The reason you have Joy is because you have Love in your heart , you may not be perfected as far as the worlds idea of perfection goes but God delights in you and as you aim for His perfection which is Love in all it’s fullness, you are giving to others freely of your heart, which is beyond earthly value and so you are reaping what you sow… LOVE!

    Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne

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  4. Wendell A. Brown

    Well it really shows so beautifully as your hearts joy shines brightly through your smiling words Savannah! It is a wonderful treasure to work doing what you love to do. We are lucky are we not….hugs and blessings always my sister!

    Like

    • jsnapp62

      It takes dedication, love and patience to work with anyone with a mental problem (I have a sister). One thing I learned is to not overprotect and to allow the person to grow as much as is possible. Early on I tended to disable rather than let sis grow because I was afraid of her being hurt. Great post Savannah. So glad to see you becoming satisfied with your choices. Praying for you.

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    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi again..:) Thank you. Then you understand, because of your sis :) Yes, I find myself drifting a bit more and more from helping to feed one of them…but letting him do it all himself. It’s hard, because they’ll drift off and move away there food, but when I sit beside him he almost always sits and eats..process. :)

      Like

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