Here we are, several weeks into our XPLOR sites. I, for one, am having a blast. Home cooking is quite the adventure, as I have not done a whole lot of that in the past. Nevertheless, I am learning. I recently played on a local church’s softball team and had fun doing that. Things are starting to cool off here at Hiram-Mantua, and I am looking forward to the coming snow.
I have been working at an early-learning center called Little Village. The idea is that it takes a village to raise a child. So far, it has been a very rewarding experice to work there. I am working with kids, so they can have their moments of…rowdiness. This is especially true when it comes to naptime and they do not want to fall asleep: “Can I have a drink?” “I need to go to the bathroom.” “I do not want to sleep!” You know, the usual kid things. In cases like this, I have a lot of respect for my coworkers. One of them goes up to a kid, covers him with his blanket and says, “Turn over, go to sleep, you’re done.” Five minutes later, the kid is out.
Thinking of naptime got me thinking about how we live our lives. There are those who, as soon as the lights go out and curtains are closed, will turn over and go to sleep—they follow the rules. Others will see how long they can stay awake before being told to fall asleep—they test the boundaries. Still others will just keep pushing and pushing until they get what they want—some call them troublemakers; others say pioneers. There is another group, though, that will lay on their cots and not fall asleep, but not cause any problems either. They just lay there and watch the world go by—they’ve figured out the system.
Now, these are not the only ways to approach naptime (or life), but these are the main ones that I’ve seen while working at Little Village. And every once in a while, something will change and everyone will do the same thing – be it not falling asleep, testing the waters, or watching the world go by. And that is a fun day, let me tell you!
Everyone is different. You could be the one testing the boundaries. Or you just keep pushing and pushing until a certain limit is reached. Or you could just be one of those who sits and watches the world go rolling by.
It’s all in how you see and live life. That is one aspect of NBA XPLOR that I like. It has forced me to think about how I see the world and rethink how to approach it.
Life is not simple. Naptime is not simple. Sometimes, you have to look at the world through the eyes of a kid.
CJ Dyer is a 2015-16 NBA XPLOR Resident in Hiram-Mantua, OH, a partnership with Brighter Day Christian Church, Hilltop Christian Church, Hiram Christian Church, Mantua Center Christian Church, and Hiram College. He serves at Little Village.
NBA XPLOR is a 10-month service residency opportunity for young adults ages 21-30, with the purpose of empowering young adults to discern and develop a “heart for care” as they live together in simple community, engage in direct service and justice work, engage in leadership development, and discern their vocational calls to honor the various communities they are called to serve.