Many of us have been told that no matter what the calling you have, you will learn from it and grow. I imagine that’s probably true of just about anything that you do. So, what have you learned from the various callings you’ve held?
In November, I was called as the nursery leader. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned so far:
- Nursery kids have a 5 minute attention span in December and a 5 second attention span in January (when the oldest kids age up to Sunbeams). Life lesson: Mentors can have a positive effect on us.
- A kid’s tolerance for having his nose wiped is inversely proportionate to his need to have it wiped. Life lesson: We often fight against the thing we need most.
- A freshly soiled diaper actually puts off a lot of heat. If you see steam rising from a child’s backside, chances are it’s time to get a parent. Life lesson: Crap happens. And you don’t have to see something bad to know that it’s there.
- The longer you spend in the nursery, the less you are able to detect the odor I call “nursery stink.” But it is a scent that clings to your clothes and hair, like walking through a casino. Life lesson: The longer we stay in a situation, the more immune we become to it. We can lose perspective and self-awareness.
- Play-doh is nearly impossible to extract from carpet, but it’s totally worth it because of its power to captivate toddlers’ attention. Life lesson: You have to make trade-offs in life, and sometimes what’s expedient is a moment of peace and quiet.
- Seminary kids are actually messier than nursery kids in terms of stains on the carpet from food (our nursery room doubles as a seminary room during the week). Life lesson: Don’t assume that older means wiser. Or more responsible. Or neater.
- Nursery is a great place for adults to hang out and socialize during SS or RS/PH. Life lesson: We’re at church to enjoy our relationships with one another and to support each other.
- Everything is edible. Life lesson: Being open minded is usually good, but not always. Oh, and get that out of your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been!
- Kids who have a hard time adjusting eventually just “get it.” One week they are screaming their heads off with snot bubbles bursting and a string of saliva from their lip to the floor, and the next week, they are happily playing with a doll or truck, not bothered when another kid chest-bumps them to the floor or steamrolls them with the toy car. Life lesson: Maybe that’s how it works with all of us–we have our moments, but then we just feel differently and get over it.
- If you go to church long enough, eventually you do it all: the good, the bad, and the nursery. Life lesson: What goes around comes around in life. There’s a season to be the stinker who gets sniffed out, and a season to sniff out the stinkers.
That’s what I’ve learned so far. But I’m sure there’s more in store. This is probably the most challenging calling I’ve had in terms of finding some sort of personal edification thereby.
How about you? What callings have you held that taught you the most? Were any of the things you learned unexpected? What are your favorite callings? What callings did you find most inspired? Discuss.
Maybe you and Blake Ostler should swap notes
My current calling has taught me that most of what I do to help people I could have done when I did not have this calling. Most people just want someone to talk to who they know won’t tell someone else.
Great post Hawk! My favorite callings have been callings in which I was an instructor (during my TBM days, not so sure now), and most recently when I was a scout leader. I actually really enjoy being with the young men. I enjoy their company, learning about their lives, teasing them, having fun with them, and well, who doesn’t love going camping! I don’t know that I was edified spiritually from that calling, but I definitely served others and I feel that was important for me.
I’m sure there are more lessons in store for you, and I’m sure they will center around patience and long-suffering ;-).
Great insight! I suspect callings are valuable because of the training they give us to notice and respond to the needs of others.
Great insights, HG.
Might I add “One learns very quickly to trade one’s suit for Dockers when one is assisting one’s wife in Nursery.”
Great post. I LOVE the nursery and would love to work there! (Where else do you get to play with toys and eat snacks?)
I’m sensitive, though, to those who feel like it’s the Mormons’ answer to the witness protection program.
One thing I’ve learned from my callings: God calls imperfect people to help Him. He could do it all Himself if He wanted to, but He doesn’t. And that’s good for us.
When my husband and I were called as nursery workers the first time, we had little kids at home and nursery was nothing more than 2 hours to endure.
Now we are in Nursery again, this time with young adults at home and we are loving it. It is a respite from the hectic lives we lead now. Both of us have had challenging leadership callings and have done our time dealing with difficult adult situations.
I hope Heavenly Father is merciful and lets us stay in nursery until we die. It is SO much easier than dealing with crabby grown ups. And our nursery is stocked with the name brand Goldfish crackers, our favorite.
The snacks are definitely a draw for all of us in there as well (I’m partial to the honey butter wheat stix by Lay’s and Nilla Wafers), and I have to say that although I kind of dread it every week going in, the time flies, and I always have a good time with the kids and adults.
Great stuff Hawkgirl-hope I never have to learn it.Love my own kids,and those of my friends.Less keen on those who I don’t know.
Oops,sounds like I could be in nursery some time soon.
this is my third time in nursery, but my first since having my five kids (all in six years) and I have to say–STILL my all time favorite. The celestial kingdom of church meetings is nursery. No one judges you, no one gets angry at you, and all dirty looks are about something that does not involve you! Of course, after being a RS Pres., nursery feels like heaven! hehehehehe
I’m a month into my second (or is it third) stint as scoutmaster and I’m surprised to find that I have much more patience than I did 14 years ago. Is it just old age? Is it the meds I’m on? Or maybe I learned something over the past 14 years of working with the youth.
One thing hasn’t changed; the line from the movie “Home Alone” still works for me. “Kids are stupid.” Well, maybe they aren’t stupid, but they sure do stupid things.
MCarp – glad you are enjoying scouting! Some people are just natural born scouters. While I may not be a natural born nursery leader, it sure has been a fun (if stinky) calling and a break from the monotony.
Now teaching the sunbeams, I really miss primary piano. THAT was probably the best calling ever. I enjoyed sacrament meeting a lot more then because I knew it wouldn’t be followed up with 2 more hours of sitting and listening/trying to stay awake, and I LOVE jazzing up the songs a bit with the kids… and playing sound effects sometimes during sharing time. Good times. Sunbeams are another story. My wife and I are together in there, which is better, but wow it can be rough. I really have learned to like kids a lot more, and I appreciate that it does not take as much prep time to work up an SB lesson vs. something for Elder’s, but it is draining… and you’re right. When the previous class finished up in December, they could tolerate at least 5 minutes at a time, no snacks, and no play time. With the new group, it’s like: 2 sentences of lesson, snacks, look at pictures, go on a walk, get drinks, play time, 2 more sentences of lesson, chase down kids who are running down the hall, clean up, stop kids from throwing things, clean up, etc. etc. And we are told every week that this is the greatest calling in the church. No way. Primary Piano is. 🙂
When my wife was Primary President, that made me assistant nursery leader by default. I had 29 kids by myself (when a man could) more than once, including snacks and a brief (ever so brief) lesson. Talk about herding cats! One of the crowning achievements of my Church career.
And I had fun!
Being in primary for many years, and then YW’s, and now having a calling in RS has made me appreciate how much work it is for my kids’ primary and nursery teachers. I’m much more likely to tell them thank you than I would have been 10 years ago. It’s good for us to bounce around in different callings because we learn new skills, and interact with different people, but also, it teaches us about how much work it is for a ward to run well, and it helps us be less judgmental of others.
I hope that it makes me more willing to do my best in future callings that don’t sound terribly appealing to me.
I love when my 2-year-old comes home from nursery with a new song he’s learned, or when my 6-year-old bears his testimony at family home evening, and it’s obvious what he’s been taught in primary recently.