Last summer, I took a chance to try something new. Now I want to share this story, my experience and the lessons I have learned.
Although my passion is journalism when it comes to a career, my heart goes to working in restaurants. My father worked in a restaurant since I was 7 years old and I essentially grew up in that restaurant. The second I turned 16 and was able to work, I began working at this restaurant. That particular restaurant has since changed ownership and I no longer work there, but this place grew my love for that type of job and atmosphere.
I enjoyed that job so much that I traveled two hours home from Rowan almost every weekend just to work — to be around my coworkers, regular customers and the atmosphere. Interestingly, one of my favorite benefits of working there was the bonds I grew with the children of frequent customers. I would let their parents get a little break as I took a moment from my work to entertain the kiddo by bringing them sweets or dancing with them while the bands performed.
It was strange for me, I never thought much of it — I didn’t like kids, but I was always very good with them. And then when those experiences were gone I missed them dearly. So, when an offer was made to me to work at a friend’s parents’ daycare, I decided I wanted to do it.
I had never worked with kids more than goofing off in the restaurant with them or babysitting for family friends, and I had certainly never been in charge of 15 children at once.
But I did it — I tried this new job, jumping head first into working at the summer camp the daycare had. It was something I had never done before, but I knew I could learn to be the best I could while constantly learning and improving. To my surprise, not only was I quite good at being in charge of 15 children at once, but I actually grew much love for it.
Children are incredible humans who know so little yet so much. They will test you in so many ways, but then you can watch them grow. Even in just three months you can watch your teachings and efforts show. They hold a certain creativity that gets lost as we grow old and learn about the world.
From repeatedly telling children to say please and thank you to reminding them that fingers don’t belong in noses, I’ve learned patience. I have gained knowledge for myself with the words of advice I share with the children. And I have learned to remain calm in the face of immense stress while running with no energy left. I have listened to children babble about nothing and held their hand while they cried, their feelings far too strong for their little hearts to hold. I’ve even held a sleeping child’s head from wobbling as they napped on a bus ride back from a field trip — despite wanting to sleep myself.
I have, above all else, made a mark on most of these kids’ lives by teaching them with kindness and providing a patient approach to the rambunctious minds they have, no matter how badly I wanted to lose all the patience I had. I grew to care for them all and loved working with them more and more as each day passed.
It was exhausting and challenging, often testing limits that I never knew could stretch so far. But, it was no more exhausting or challenging than working in the restaurant industry — just very different. I took a huge leap of faith in taking this job, doing something I had never done before, and I adored every second of it.
So, this is my message to you: always take a chance at doing something new, especially if it is a job. Of course you may hate it and then you know it is not for you, but you may love it. And as people often say, if you love what you do you won’t work a day in your life.
While work will always be work, with all the stressors and brain power that goes into it, you should at least enjoy what you do. You have one life so you should learn and experience all that you can, take chances and step out of your comfort zone. Taking a leap may surprise you and give you a broader sense of happiness and new passions. When you find what you love, do what you can to keep it in your life — even if it requires you to wrangle 15 children on a daily basis.
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