Not Everyone Can Successfully Provide Care
 JUDY LYDEN
 

 Providers often bristle at people who think they know how to run
 a day care, who think they have all the answers about childcare.

 Yet critics abound and providers are genuinely miffed when they
 hear compliments that sound like comparisons, questions that
 sound like statements and even the all-too-common aside,
 "Anyone could do that work."

 When such "grades" are posted and providers take their D's on
 their methods of ministering to children's needs, teaching,
 buying equipment, hiring, firing, meal plans and the day-to-day
 activities from persons not engaged in childcare, strong
 providers can laugh it off, imagining the critics in a room filled
 with children ‹ all by themselves.

 Other providers often advocate the "inclusive delusion" profile in
 protest of the critics ‹ they adopt the sophisticated clean sweep
 of gray paint view: all providers are good, decent wonderful
 people ‹ each with his own talents and gifts to share. Each
 provider should be held in highest esteem, they feel, just
 because he's given his time, talent and treasure to be a
 provider.

 However kindly the inclusive delusion version sounds, it, too,
 only works in fantasy land. The truth is, like any job, providers
 are not all equal, nor are all providers really good. Some are
 excellent, some are good, some are bumbling and some are
 just awful.

 And it follows, too, that some excellent providers have no
 business sense. And that some with business sense can't
 understand children.

 Running a childcare facility takes not only a jack of all trades,
 but a willing and able jack of all trades ‹ and nothing less. It
 takes someone who knows how to do a multitude of things well
 for people who are not yet altogether reasonable.

 Now, the element that makes the show close with a profit? It's a
 clear understanding that the business end absolutely never,
 ever overrides the human element. The first and foremost
 priority of any childcare provider is the integrity of the families
 who depend on her. That means quality, and that makes
 success, which ultimately means profit.

 Without her families, there is no need for a provider. Providers
 know that. An empty daycare facility or an emptying facility is a
 sign something is not right, and it probably begins with the
 provider. "What have I done and what have I failed to do?," are
 the first questions of the day.

 Providers who succeed know that the most important concern
 of parents is the care of their child and that that's exactly what
 they provide. It's called "whole-childcare" and there's a plus to it.
 It's a great big plus ‹ a particular kind of extended care that
 involves not only the child, but the whole family. But that's hard
 to find and it's hard to do.

 Whole childcare takes a personal commitment. It takes
 someone who is able to be ‹ emotionally, spiritually and
 intellectually ‹ attached and involved with the child and his
 family.

 Not all people are able, or even willing, to reach out to others
 because self gets in the way. It's not everyone who can
 successfully run a childcare facility. It's not everyone who
 understands that.

 ‹ If you need help picking good daycare, you can order Judy
 Lyden's booklet, "Looking for Day Care," by sending a
 self-addressed, stamped envelope to Day Care, The Evansville
 Courier, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, IN 47702.
 
 

 (Judy Lyden is a licensed day-care provider. Write to her c/o
 The Evansville Courier, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, IN 47702, or
 e-mail her at jlyden@evansville.net.)

 Scripps Howard News Service

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