We all have this core memory that reminds us of the day we gained consciousness. The type of memory where a person can point to the moment they felt their being and their place in the world.
My memory, well faded over the years, but still strong, starts with the feeling of a hard plastic chair and the chatter of children playing with no stress.
I was in my daycare center at Lakehead University, so I went to daycare on campus while my parents went to class.
My mom would drop me off in the morning, before her accounting classes started, and I would be greeted by two, energetic students on two hours of sleep, who study early childhood education.
Wait one second, I’m going to ask my parents if I was a research bunny for the education department at Lakehead. I’m back and they said mostly like yes.
But in actual memories, it was a wonderful experience being able to see my parents study without the stress of finding childcare. I also became a tool to help a student learn their future research and career.
I think those were the moments I first fell in love with education and the idea of college campuses. Even in that tiny room holding ten kids, my little child brain started to understand the power that education holds in this world.
I would never trade the days in a college daycare center or the first nights my mom trusted me to be home alone when she took night classes.
Education, a thirst for knowledge no matter the boundaries, I was raised by that mentality and it only happened because my parents never stopped their dreams because of my little old me.
Now walking around and living in Abilene, I see so many parents share a similar style of raising as my parents. They may not send their kids to childcare facilities at their place of work, but they do one step better.
Store owners will have their kids hanging out or even working, which allows them to see the inner workings of a business before they sit down in their first business class.
City Commissioner taking his son to a city meeting, which allows them to see how governments participate with their community to improve the town overall.
Gym employees bring their kids to work out, which allows them to see how health and exercise affects people of every age.
Non-profit owners allow the kids to participate in every activity the organization offers, which allows them to see the power that art and education can have on communities.
Now, I know some parents may feel bad that they can’t spend time with their kids because of work or that they can’t afford traditional child care. Trust me, your kids are watching and learning more about the world than you will ever comprehend.
AJ Raaska is a reporter for the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle.