Little 3-year-old David took my hand as we looked out the window, watching and listening as an ambulance drove by the day-care center. He said in a quiet voice, just so I alone could hear, “I rode in that ambulance.” I had to choke back my own tears because I knew he remembered a terrible, violent incident that happened to him a few months before. That summer, he would wear a shirt when our child-care class played outside in the sprinkler because he did not want the other preschoolers to see the scars on his belly from stab wounds that almost killed him.
It was my first year out of college, and I taught a class of 3-year-olds in the day-care center. I did not have the knowledge or life experiences to know what to say or do for David, so I just loved him in the best ways I knew. Since that time, I have had opportunities to minister to preschoolers who have been through other traumas, such as family issues of divorce, suicide of a parent, and terminal illness of a family member. These were each life-changing events for the preschoolers and their families. Even an event such as a car wreck can be traumatizing to a preschooler. Each situation is different, but we can be of help to preschoolers who face trauma within their families. These are some things I learned along the way.
When preschoolers in your care go through trauma, the greatest thing you can do is love them. David Crosby wrote in Your Pain Is Changing You (N144119, $14.99), “Love is the greatest response of all to the suffering and heartache in the world and in our lives. Giving and receiving love helps heal the hurts that life delivers to our bodies and our spirits.”1 As you pray for preschoolers and their families, ask God to bring healing to their hurt through the love that you give.
1 David Crosby, Your Pain Is Changing You (Birmingham, AL: New Hope Publishers, 2014), 168.
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