The challenge with children

By Cecilia Negash, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Hawkeye

Hello there, Hawks. Welcome back to your monthly letter from your co-editor-in-chief. You may notice that I am not the blind girl who, prior to me, would also come on here babbling about any nonsense that came to mind.

However, our lovely Ritika Khanal is graduating and moving on to bigger and better things. Starting next fall she will be attending a small liberal arts college by the name of Harvard, you may have heard of it.

Today, I will be talking about children. More specifically, the children at my job.

About two months ago I quit my first job: McDonald’s. And if you’re curious, yes the ice cream machine does break down as often as the workers tell you over the intercom.

“But why would you ever quit such a fantastic job, Cecilia?” is what you’re probably thinking. At some point I guess I stopped enjoying coming home at 10 p.m. with the smell of french fries seeping into my pores.

So, I put in my two weeks notice and then proceeded to not show up for my final shifts anyway. At that point, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to work for the remainder of the school year and would just apply later for a new job come summer.

But then a few days later, I found myself updating my Indeed profile and making my resume public. I wasn’t expecting much from it, it was mainly to prepare for when I would decide to look for jobs later, towards the end of the school year.

Then, my phone dinged with a little notification from the City of Mountlake Terrace. In the message was a description of an open position at the local recreation center. Next thing I knew I was responding, and a few weeks later I’m filling out (re: glorified guesswork) a bunch of complicated paperwork with my mother.

Fast forward to the present, and here I am spending Monday through Friday surrounded by screaming children. The good kind of screaming though (I hope).

I’m still fairly new. As of right now I’ve only been working a little under a month and I can confidently say I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m trying, and I think that counts for more than most people realize.

To add a little more context, I work in this after-school program called Kids Krew, which is a part of the Youth Programs department. My job entails working with children from ages 5-10 after they get off school.

I feel as though I’ve already learned a lot from this job, and when I say that I mean I’ve learned a lot about myself. Surprise! Contrary to popular belief, I don’t despise children. Kids Krew has three sites located around the Mountlake Terrace area, with the exception of one in Edmonds, and I’ve had to work at all three as part of my training process.

The job can get a bit tiring, depending on how the kids choose to behave that day, but it can also be very rewarding. It’s the small things, like when you enter the room and a kid runs up to you and hugs your knees, or when they kindly ask you to play with them.

Despite the heartwarming moments, the duality of a child will never cease to give me whiplash. One moment you’ll look at them thinking, “You sweet summer child, how could you ever do anything wrong?” And then in the exact next moment, they decide to bare their teeth and turn into a little gremlin.

It’s interesting, sometimes they don’t even realize that the thing they’re doing is something that maybe they shouldn’t be. Just the other day, one kid had befriended a snail that she found on the pavement. For the next hour, she proceeded to speedily run around the playground with the snail loosely in her hand.

My concern didn’t reach its peak until she took copious amounts of dirt from the school garden and drowned the snail with it. Repeatedly. When I expressed my concern she simply looked at me and said, “He likes it.” I did not have a response to that.

I also find their fixations quite interesting too. Just yesterday, as of typing this, I was working a shift when the same girl (we’ll refer to her as snail girl) got into a tussle with another kid over a worn down ring. Not like a piece of jewelry, but just a giant orange ring.

The situation over this piece of plastic became increasingly intense, until it reached its breaking point and the kid started to chase the snail girl, to which she responded by swinging her fist.

None of her hits landed thankfully, but it’s safe to say that I lost a few years off my life each time I saw her tiny ineffectual hand swinging about. Of course I tried defusing this situation, but my words could hold only so much power amidst the chaos.

These anecdotes make my job seem like an occupation that you would want to stay far away from, and if you prefer not to be around a group of children, then your assumption would be correct.

Unfortunately, I like my job. Kids will be kids (and I say that with both positive and negative connotations), and I find myself fortunate to spend a few hours with them just doing menial activities like drawings and games.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in all of the nonsense I’m spewing right now, but I am simply too worn out to spell it out, so I will leave it up for your interpretation. Just know that whatever jobs you may work in the future, you can really anything to learn from it, and I mean anything.