Working with kids is, for me, very hard but also very fun. I’ve written before about children making better patrons than adults, and my opinion on that certainly hasn’t changed. But it’s challenging.
Sometimes it’s challenging in a fun way. Recently at church I held out a handful of wooden tablets with maxims written on them to a little girl. She pulled one out and read it aloud: “Love your enemies.” The group of six to eight-year-olds was flabbergasted. “Huh?” “That doesn’t even make SENSE.” “Why would you do that?” The thing that is so interesting in working with kids is their fresh perspective on things you have been hearing your whole life. And then talking it through with them, thinking together about what it’s like if you treat your enemy like you hate him, and what happens. Fascinating.
I have been doing storytime for a shocking number of years, and every time it is still challenging and so engaging. You can do a book 100 times, and it will always be different. Even if you do it twice in a row with the same kids, going back through the book you just read, it will be different, because their understanding of it has changed and their response to it will change. The really cool thing is that your response to it will change, too.
But I have to say that it’s not all cupcakes and roses with storytime groups. No matter how experienced you are, you will still have the storytime that just falls apart on you. Right now I have an unusual number of kids who have just spent the morning together at preschool and now have come to the library together. Getting them to stop paying attention to each other and pay attention to me and the storytime activities? Challenging. But that is why after so many years it is still the high point of my week–it is a passionate, fully-engaged hour. Twenty little personalities keep your brain and your heart and your creativity hard at work, and really, what’s more fun than that?