Monday, February 2, 2009

No Small Callings

In The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the young cast of a church nativity play is told that there are "no small parts, only small actors". As a kid, I was with the narrator in thinking that this was the most ridiculous statement ever made. You can certainly have a nativity play without a baby angel, but you can't have one without someone to play Mary.

But now, as an adult, I am finally beginning to understand what this statement means. Of course there are parts that are more important, and more essential to the whole, but every single part is important in its own way. And sometimes it is the smallest part that ends up being the most important.

I have seen this firsthand as my son reached nursery age. Being the stubborn, velcro-child he is, he was not pleased with the idea of his mom and dad trying to leave him with friends, toys, snacks and activities so they could go to Sunday School. This resulted in several extremely stressful months of trying to help him adjust to nursery class. Knowing his stubborn personality as I do, I just knew that he needed to be allowed to cry it out for a few weeks in order to adjust, which was an impossibility at the time.

So when we moved to NYC, I prayed and prayed that Michael would have a nursery leader who would be willing to help him by letting him have a few weeks of tears. When we arrived it was with great trepidation that we left him for his first nursery class. I explained the situation and asked them to keep him as long as they could handle it. They seemed willing to try it out, and I left, a bundle of nerves, my head jerking to check the classroom door every time it opened, just sure it would be a screaming Michael.

The first Sunday he made it one hour. The second week he stayed the whole two hours in nursery. Within a month he was only crying when we left him, and occasionally for a few minutes here and there when something would distress him. Within two months he was going to nursery without any tears at all. And yesterday he actually asked, "Nursery? Play?" toward the end of sacrament meeting, excited about going to play with toys.

I swear I could hear a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

His teachers have been so helpful, and so willing to see his progress that each week they noted his improvement and made sure to tell me how much better he was doing. Even amidst the tear-filled weeks they seemed excited to see him, put their arms around him and told him how happy they were to have him in nursery, and made sure to let us know he was doing great and would be settled in in no time.

These nursery leaders may feel like they have small callings and that their job is nothing more than babysitting, but I know better. These women are angels on earth who showed me that my son has a loving Heavenly Father who cares about him, and cares about me.

I used to leave church every week in tears, at a loss as to what to do. Attending my Sunday meetings became very stressful for me during those few months. But now I practically skip down the block on the way home as my son tells me he had "fun" in nursery class. Words can't express how much gratitude I feel toward these women, and toward my Father in Heaven for answering my prayers.

It just goes to show that there are no small callings - especially not callings to be in charge of baby angels.


Julia said...

Hooray for a fantastic fit! (Congratulations, Michael!)

Rizley Family said...

Goodness, I actually teared up when reading this because I totally understand what you are talking about. The boys have switched off crying the whole time they have been in nursery, with only a few weeks here and there when they both actually went happily in. Lately, Tommy will start howling as soon as the final song is sung in sacrament meeting, and will scream and cry the whole way down the hall. I just push him in the door after prying his fingers off my clothes and quickly close the door. He usually stops crying within minutes (Colin has no issues and loves nursery). For me, this is an answer to my prayers. Even though he cried initially and throws a huge fuss, I am glad that the nursery leaders will allow me to leave him there and will love him nevertheless. Thank heaven for nursery!!!

Megan B said...

Amen and amen.

Oliver said...

So happy the nursery in your ward is working out!

There's nothing cuter than hearing your child say, "Nursery?" as you walk into the building. We start getting the "Nursery? Nursery? Nursery?" chant halfway through Sacrament meeting.

overlyactive said...

Kudos to you for letting him cry it out. This is so hard to do but most of the time is the only thing that is the best thing to do. I think people fear to much of what others will think of you as a parent instead of what is best for the child. This should be entered for publication in the Ensign! You really should think about it.

The Davis Clan said...

Bonnie, I am so glad Michael was finally allowed to get through the tears to the fun. What a relief for you and David to be able to enjoy Sunday school.

Haven said...

That's wonderful that's he's been doing so well! I was in nursery for a year in our last ward and there were a couple of children who had to cry and try to break down the door for the first 10 minutes of class. But after that it was smooth sailing. They really are baby angels, even when their emotions try to convince us otherwise.