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“I’m Here for You”

Last week a representative from Community Care Licensing arrived at school for their annual unannounced visit, which hasn’t occurred in several years due to COVID. Licensing, the regulatory division of California Department of Social Services, monitors all daycare facilities in the state. They send analysts who investigate classrooms, play yards, medical storage, and snack cabinets, as well as teachers’ and children’s files.

Though the visit ultimately went extremely well, the process itself is always hectic and stressful, as the analyst constantly asks to see different things, like the carbon monoxide filter, lead-testing paperwork, and every toilet to see if it is flushed.

My colleagues – preschool teachers, elementary co-principals, the facilities manager, the administrative staff – constantly illustrated what “I’m here for you” means, running around pulling out all the paperwork needed. One of them, our director of admissions, sat quietly in the room with me and the analyst as she worked for four hours. Having him there reminded me how physically and emotionally calming just having someone with you can be.

Just showing up for someone in a quiet way can be one of the most important ways you offer support. A child having a tantrum benefits from the calm of a non-judgmental adult, quietly nearby. Children working on hard homework assignments can feel a boost from a parent sitting and working on their own tasks in the same room. Parents who attend sporting events who value the bravery of participation as more important than winning provide visible encouragement. There are so many times when just being there for someone gives a grieving or sick friend, or a child who is feeling anxious, the lift they need.

There are many examples in the English language that communicate our desire to let children, or adults, know we want to support them: “I’m pulling for you.” “I’m with you all the way.” “You can count on me to be in your corner.” “I’m right behind you.” “You’ve got my vote.” “I’ll be thinking of you.” “I’m backing you up.” “I’ll be there to support you.” “I’ll be holding you in my heart.”

Saying and demonstrating that we are there for someone affirms the bigger reality that we are not separate, and our willingness to share love with others is the central meaning of being human.


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