Thursday, November 09, 2006

Autumn, my friend (guest post by Barb)

Autumn was my five-year-old friend in the last area where I served on my mission. She had a way of looking right in my face and twisting her mouth in a positions where lips are stretched thin in various contortions. Her eagerness was very infectious and very energizing.
I remember how much Autumn liked one of my companions who had been serving there before I entered the area. I was in a three-some and it seemed to be Sister Lee who she called Sister Wee who Autumn gravitated to the most at that time. It probably wasn't too prophetic of Sister Lee to tell me that soon Autumn would be drawn to me in like matter. On visits to her parents home who were active members who allowed us to do laundry in their home and despite a limited budget would often feed us, Autumn seemed delightfully under foot at times. I recall her mother driving us somewhere with Autumn present. Autumn said she was going to draw a picture that included me. I let her know that I would send it home and instructed her not to draw the weight that I had gained as a missionary.
Autumn's primary was having a special missionary activity where adults who served missions would discuss their missions with children in small sections. My companion and I were invited to talk to the children about missionary work. I had heard a sister talk in my home ward to the primary children about missionary work and how her children when small loved to be missionaries and wanted to share the Book of Mormon. It is always easy to hit the angle about inviting children to primary too although it did not occur to me at the time.
I had an idea right before class to do some sort of object lesson with a pencil that I borrowed for that purpose. I must have heard a quote somewhere where Mother Teresa said she was like a pencil in God's hand or an instrument in his hand and I think I quoted her and shared the thoughts I had tied together in my head prior to my talk. My companion praised me for being a good speaker.
Later I would learn Autumn's assessment. Autumn said that she did not understand what I was trying to say.

-by Barb


annegb said...

I love your love for children, Barb. You see them as people, not objects or little stuffed animals. You imbue them with personality and person hood. Little Autumn :).

Barb said...

Growing up, my parent did not allow me to babysit. I'm not sure why. When I first substituted for nursery, I found how I loved stepping into the world of a child. I like comforting them during that period of separation anxiety.

Then, I was called to teach Sunbeams after only being a member about a half year. While it could be stressful as I wanted to do such a good job, I have so many fond memories that I recall to this day.

One of my favorites was when one of my Sunbeams wanted to go see her mom at the Library during class time. While I am not very authoritarian by any stretch, I felt I was responsible for her during that period and had her stay in class. When the class finished, she said, "May I kindly see my mother now."

Since I have not had any children of my own as of yet, I think children sense that I do not have the responsiblity of most adults and they tend to see me as a peer or friend their age. I guess my background in Primary and also the years when I was studying to be an Elementary Teacher gives me some material to relate. I very much identify with the adult world and have many adult interests. However, it is fun to see the world through a child's eyes with the opportunity presents itself.

I remember how much people such as my Aunt Linda meant to me growing up. She was so feminine and pretty and a gifted artist. She also had a beauty degree. She made me feel special as a child. I like to think that I might have that same impact on a child. Wow! I am rather talkative at the moment. :)