Adventures in babysitting

Until the eighth or ninth grade I wasn't interested in children. Then my cousin had a baby, and suddenly it was the thing for me. I started to babysit for different families in our village. It helped me a lot to know that I could pray when there were difficult situations—and that I wasn't helpless with little children. Prayer has helped me to take better care of them, to be more patient, and to deal with them in a gentle, relaxed manner.

Once a little boy I was taking care of got all wet while he was playing. But he refused to take off his wet pants and get dry. I didn't want to force him, though. I didn't think that using force had any part in God. So I gently talked with him, and at the same time I prayed. I tried to see him as God sees him. I knew he was a loving child of God, not a rebellious little boy. I needed a lot of patience. Finally, he let me take off the wet pants and put a dry pair on. But he didn't have to give in just because he was the weaker one. He did it because he wanted to. And we both ended up being happy.

Another time, I helped a family with three little kids. The two babies were twins, and the oldest child was just a little older. At dinnertime their mother had everything organized superbly. The oldest one would sit in her highchair and eat by herself. All I had to do was talk to her. Meanwhile I would sit on the floor and give both babies their bottles at the same time. (They were still too little to hold them.) It was a situation where you couldn't let anything go wrong. The babies would be very unhappy if someone suddenly took away their bottles.

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Guided by the stars?
January 1, 2000

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