by Kresta Horn
UMOM Child Development Center Manager
This morning as I sat with a new parent to our Child Development Center and her 2-year- old little boy I was once again reminded how important it is to stop and take the time to get to know our families and our children. We sat in our ‘family room’ (otherwise known as our lobby) and laughed and played, and talked as if we had known each other for a long time.
The Child Development Center staff has started a journey of learning how we can build resiliency in children (and families) through relationships. This has started by treating each family with the respect and dignity they deserve – regardless of the choices they have made that have led them to UMOM. Confidence and self-worth, in adults and children, starts with the belief that you are, in essence, an individual worthy of love and respect. Not because of things they have or haven’t done in their lives, how broken or whole they are, but simply because they are who they are. And that we are going to love our families, the children, while they are in the process of healing and growing
Some might say that is easy…however I would beg to differ. As we each come with our own set of beliefs we are challenged to look beyond that and accept people for who they are, not who we think they should be.
The Child Development Center is practicing this through our conversations with our families, but also having intentional activities that engage the whole family. Our hope is that they will find the Center to be their community, their safe place, the place where not only they feel safe to leave their child in such an uncertain time in their lives, but to also come and just ‘be’.
Some of the activities that we have done over the last couple months during this journey of building relationships have been infant massage, smoothie and nutrition parties, an Art Walk and Open House, and the list goes on.
Sometimes we question whether or not a family will show up to an event or whether it was worth all the hard work. But in our hearts we know, if it changes one person, or builds into one family, then one family turns into two, two turns into three, and so on and so forth. It might’ve been just that one time that someone took the time to connect with them and show them that they are worthy because they exist that could change a generation. And it also changes an integral part of who we are, by opening our eyes and hearts to see the best in someone else – even if they cannot yet see it themselves.