January 24, 2023

I have worked in childcare for the last 16 years and as a director for the most recent seven years. I graduated college with a degree in Education and completed the testing to be a certified teacher. During my studies in school, I learned ways to manage a classroom, how to handle behavior issues, and how to help a child catch up in reading or math. What they don’t teach is how to love all the people you come in contact with.

There are children who can be incredibly hard to handle, teachers that don’t see eye-to-eye with your philosophies, and parents or guardians that don’t want to follow policies. Over the years of working with so many people I have learned that when a person or child is acting unlovable, that is when they need someone to love them unconditionally.

I have had to learn through practice and some hard life lessons afterwards, that a child who is showing out in an unlovable way are craving and needing the most attention, connection, and love because they just moved houses, gained a sibling, or their parents are going through a divorce. A teacher may have underlying hard circumstances in their lives and may just need a listening ear and a warm hug. The parent who is upset or appears to be fighting policies is just having a bad day and needs grace.

While this isn’t always the easiest to put in practice, I find that in the morning while I’m getting ready for the day as I’m spending time listening to God’s word or at night while I’m praying over my own girls that this comes much easier to me, and that God continually gives me opportunities to practice grace.  I’m reminded that I’d desire the same grace for those caring for my family, interacting with myself or my husband, and need the same listening ear and warm hug from those working with me.

My seven-year-old daughter Cate is an avid reader, and we love the book But Maybe, Perhaps as a way to reinforce this concept with her to ask questions about why people are behaving the way they are and to always extend grace and love even when it’s hard.

I encourage you today try asking extending grace and loving those who seem hard to love. I promise you will not regret it.

– Mandi Coleman, Director of St. Luke’s Children’s Center