I will never forget how I felt that day after picking up my older son from his preschool class at church. Tears dripped off my chin despite my desperate efforts to hold them back. I had just listened as the volunteer listed out every offense my son had committed during the past hour. I heard about everything from struggles sharing to the fact that he got wild after they fed him chocolate pudding. (Duh!) I knew he wasn’t perfect – believe me – I lived with him! I thought church was a safe place for my child, and I learned that day that it wasn’t.
Fast forward several years.
Recently, I sat at lunch with the Small Group Leader of my younger son. We weren’t meeting about him. In fact, we were meeting about something completely unrelated. However, for the first few minutes we were together, she asked all about him – like how he was recovering from his (epic!) bike crash. She proceeded to give me a glimpse of what she sees on Sundays. There were some good things and some things that I could have taken as negative – except that she focused on telling me about the progress he is making. Again, I am fully aware that this son isn’t perfect, either. But this time around, I know he is in a safe place, surrounded by people who love him and who love Jesus.
As a preschool Small Group Leader, you are responsible for creating a safe place for families.
A place where preschoolers feel safe –
- when you get down on their level to say hello
- when they come in grumpy and won’t let go of their lovey
- when they come in giddy with excitement about their new puppy
- when they blurt out secrets about home that you’re sure their mom wouldn’t want to be public knowledge
And a place where preschoolers’ parents know their child is safe –
- when they don’t look, smell, or sound like the Gerber baby
- in an environment with age appropriate toys and supplies
- regardless of whether they come into the room in tears or with a huge grin
- where they will receive love simply because their SGL knows they were created in the image of God.
Preschool is tricky! If a child feels safe, but the parent doesn’t, you may not get the chance to influence that child’s life. But when a parent knows their child is in a safe place, and the child knows they are in a safe place, you have the opportunity to show them their first glimpse of their loving heavenly Father!