CYC-Online 7 AUGUST 1999
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Making memories

John Egan

Fun is serious work for children

It has been my experience as a child care worker that one of the most important aspects of caring for children is making memories.

A simple lesson came home to me recently in the task of putting a band-aid on a small cut. The boy had cut his leg below the knee and asked for a band-aid. At twelve he could surely have put the band-aid on himself, but taking the time to make a memory, I proceeded to give the attention that he really needed. The antiseptic applied, the cut covered, I made a face on the knee cap with the red merthiolate, and each time the knee was bent the little face shrank or expanded to the belly laugh of the boy.

The incident over, we went on with our daily routine. A few days later this boy came to me to ask if I could make another face, ... 'cause that was fun." And fun is serious work for children.

I am sure that if and when the time comes that his own child asks for a band-aid for a simple cut, a memory will be there to say, I care enough to give you a funny face on your kneecap and make a memory." Childhood memories have a way of taking us a long way and making them is part of the joy of being a child care worker.

This feature: John Egan, Child Care Worker, McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys, Leicester, Mass. in Child Care Work in Focus, copyright the Academy of Child and Youth Care Practice

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