I have been hearing about the influx of people around Muncie who have pitched in voluntarily in schools and after school programs to encourage, play and tutor kids individually. Muncie's United Way has emphasized the importance of early childhood education and stimulating experiential learning. It has made a difference. There are people sprinkled through our neighborhoods who pitch in to provide wholesome interaction and unconditional love. There are also very faithful grandparents who do what they can to add to parental influences.
I was launched into after school fun times with children, just by being in my own home after school. (thank God for retirement) I have committed to watch my kindergarten grandson after school. This has contained me to my home. I have gotten extra benefits because it increased traffic in my neighborhood kids who run in and out of my doors. We read. We talk about what happened at school. And, we run around like Ninjas, fly kites, go swimming and play games. This interaction is as much fun for me as it is for them. The love I have for them has been growing. I really didn't expect this much fulfillment. I feel young and happy. There have been many flashbacks lately of my own childhood and the people who invested in me.
I have found that I don't have to plan anything like I do when I am teaching school. Because of the creativity of these kids, it all happens naturally. It flows. My grandson, who is an only child has developed dynamic relationships with the two boys across the street. (They have been in his life since he was a baby). They are models for good clean fun, kindness, and how to work hard. I love it when older kids model good behavior for the younger. It is as almost or maybe more so imortant than adult interaction. For me it is just supervision at time as they all mature before my very eyes!
Kids bring hope for our future. At the very least, just one minute of interaction with a kid and unconditional love can bring great benefits in every way.