This, I Believe

Children deserve a place, regardless of ability, to laugh, love, be loved, and grow. This, I believe.

For the past eight months, I have worked with young toddlers in a daycare on campus. Each semester, some new kiddos are brought into our classroom so we see a constant sea of new faces. This semester, two of the new kids have disabilities. One little girl has Down Syndrome, who I will call Krista, and the other little girl will likely be diagnosed with Autism, who I will call Bella. Before working with these two girls, I had never had the chance to interact with children with disabilities before on any level so it was incredibly new for me.

When the semester began, Bella often played on her own and didn’t make eye contact even when my eyes were right there for her to look at. Getting her attention, much less holding it, and figuring out what she wanted when she wasn’t happy was difficult and that became frustrating to me, until I started singing to her. Bella loves to sing and be sung to. As soon as I start singing, she looks into my eyes and the biggest grin comes across her face even if she was crying just a second before. Knowing that she struggles with this, it melts my heart every single time. I sing song after song to Bella, and she continues to look at me, with a grin from ear to ear, and we love the power of song together.

Now, a month and a half later, Bella will tell me what sound an animal makes when I prompt her, use simple sign language, and even occasionally make eye contact with me even when I’m not singing. I have seen the progress that Bella has made in such a short amount of time, and it warms my heart to know I played a part in it. My experience with Bella has shown me that if I actively choose to laugh with and love every child that is in my classroom, then I can make a positive difference in a child’s life someday or maybe even today.

All of the toddlers that I work with hold an incredibly special place in my heart and have shown me what it really means to love someone like they are my own. All of these kiddos deserve the world, and I believe that through showing them it’s okay to laugh, love, be loved, and grow with me that it’s at their fingertips.

Starting From the Beginning

I have recently been thinking about beginning a blog – a place to publicly express my thoughts and, hopefully, inspire someone.  Today I had the extra strong desire to do this, so here I am.

Although I have only been around for 19 years, I have had my own share of ups and downs throughout my life like anyone else.  Even so, I have consistently been referred to as a positive person because I try to see the best in every person and in every situation.  I have the “unique” ability to put things that hurt me so far in the back of my mind that sometimes I can forget it actually happened.  For example, today marks the five-year anniversary of my father’s unexpected passing.  There are still days when I think he is here and I can talk to him whenever I need to hear his voice.  When I think about it, I miss my daddy like crazy and just wish he could have watched me graduate high school and that he would walk me down the aisle someday and witness other huge life events I will experience.  The truth is, I often forget the grim reality of him not being here anymore.  I don’t know if this is because I am just so optimistic that I’ve adjusted incredibly well or if this is solely because I’m delusional, but it is the truth.  Instead of choosing to dwell on something I cannot change, I am actively choosing to learn from my father’s death and become a better person.  As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I firmly believe that God does not put anything in our lives that we cannot handle with His guidance, but He will allow obstacles to block our paths so we can grow.

The point is is that I have learned to look for the best in every situation.  Being positive brightens my days and makes my life feel like it is so much more worth living.  I don’t understand the point of constantly being pessimistic because the only person you are really bringing down is yourself.  Negativity holds you back, so why choose that for yourself?

I hope my blog will encourage people to take a positive outlook every now and then, as well as help me grow not only as a person, but in my spiritual walk with God, too.  I want to share my struggles so that maybe others can learn something and not make the same mistakes I did and not have to face the same heartaches.  I feel my best when I am helping others and I hope that I can inspire just one person to be optimistic and see the light.

Hannah