Growing Together

           As a SOAR staff member, I am always trying to find ways to help better teach the kids educationally and through life lessons.  However, what I don’t think about is that they indirectly teach us, too!  It’s not just a one-way discipline cycle, we all grow and learn through each other and it’s a beautiful thing.

         Monday, September 20th was the very first swimming day of the year.  As a past competitive swimmer I was super pumped to be able to share this past experience with them now.  The kids were super excited when they arrived that day and wanted to fly through dinner so they’d get more time to swim.  As we walked into the hallway the immediate smell of chlorine filled the air and all the kids were jumping with excitement.  Although I had one worry.  It was small and silly but it scared me a little if the kids noticed and reacted.  After we all changed in the locker rooms the kids lined up at the door and met Miss Sam to give them permission to go jump in the pool.  The pool was such a rush; the water is always cold at first but kids never seem to be phased by it.  The boys were throwing the football and the girls playing tag.  It made me happy to see them so happy and enjoying their time. I was just wading through the wavy water making my way around the ecstatic kids.  One boy in particular called me over, and asked me what my name was again since it was only week four of SOAR.  After I told him he remembered saying, “Oh yeah, you wear glasses usually!  And today you look very pretty by the way.”  This struck me as a surprise since he was one of the younger kids and a boy who usually doesn’t think to compliment others at that age.  This comment also happened to confront my worry that day.  My face had been broken out pretty bad and I didn’t want the kids to react in a negative way since we were swimming and it wasn’t going to be covered up.  It’s a silly thing to worry about but it filled my 18-year-old mind.  This little boy’s comment immediately made my day and realized just how thankful I am for their presence in my life.  It’s amazing how they can indirectly make me feel better without even knowing I had the problem in the first place.  The humility children have without even knowing is astounding.  

This experience opened my mind and made me realize this is a perfect example of why Jesus tells us to love others like children do (Matthew 18:3-4).  Children have this unconditional love for everyone.  They accept things in simplicity.  It’s only when we grow up when we start to question everything.  The currency of the kingdom of heaven is faith.  This is why we must have faith like a child.  I am so blessed to be a part of the SOAR family and also have the influence of every single one of these kiddo’s in my life.  We help them, and they also help us develop and learn in the faith, too!

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory now and forever.  Amen.”  2 Peter 3:18

Author: Creighton Panas