Chris Osterlund hadn’t planned on spending last summer at home, and he definitely hadn’t planned on being a nanny for his next-door neighbor’s 8- and 10-year-old boys. But that’s exactly what he did. The senior engineering major gave us an inside look at what he took away from his summer as a “manny.”
Chris arrived at 7 a.m. every day, giving him some peace and quiet before chaos erupted when the boys were up. Once they were awake, Chris was responsible for everything from meals to planning daily activities. “I tried to let them make the decisions by guiding them through a thought process. On days when they were cranky, I didn’t really press the issue.” Not only did Chris discover what a huge responsibility handling all the boys’ basic needs was, but he also learned how demanding it is to deal with conflict resolution and disciplinary issues. “I really wish that I’d had some sort of training on discipline beforehand because I found that to be the biggest challenge,” he said.
“I’m an only child and had never been in a position like this before. I realized how limited my perspective was in many areas, which made the experience challenging in a lot of ways. I would leave their house struck by how easily an 8-year-old boy had gotten me riled up or had engaged me in a heated debate on the legitimacy of using a ‘play’ bullwhip to attack his brother because they were ‘playing.’ (He uses the same word; I admire the logic, don’t you?).”
“It’s amazing that I can think of myself as a put-together, young adult, and yet succumb to extreme emotions at the hands of a second-grader. Children are a wonderful gift that I’m not prepared for yet, but I’m thankful this experience revealed areas that I really need to saturate in prayer. I would highly encourage any male to try out babysitting.”