Reflecting on Life at ScuttleBugs

Sam PenmanUncategorized

As I sit and reflect on my experience with ScuttleBugs over our first 5 years, I am proud of and constantly amazed at the difference we can make together. Obviously, I truly cherish being knee deep in kids and value every moment – even though it hasn’t been all bubbles and bounce houses along the way!


One thing I’ve learnt is that babies and children are capable of far more than we give them credit for. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know children of all temperaments, each with their unique set of attributes and challenges. Some quiet achievers, some comedians, some gentle old souls, some future leaders, some peacemakers, some quite bright, switched on creatures that are sure they could run the center given the chance! One little lass in particular comes to mind – she could whip her cohorts into line before they even realized what was happening. Quite the classroom helper, even if a bit head strong at times – a trait the parents were not looking forward to battling in later years. There’s always a pay off I guess.


Working or living with kids, no two days are the same. Any parent/teacher will tell you, things don’t always go according to plan. As the old adage goes “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” Even though it’s no Ground Hog Day – there will certainly be blah days when it sure feels like it. Some circumstances can try even the most seasoned caregiver or teacher. Just remember, despite the tantrums and pull your hair out moments, it’s all worth it. My front lines team continues to astound and inspire me with their day in day out dedication – I salute you guys!


“The soul is healed by being with children.” Fyodor Dostoyevski. Spending any amount of time with kids is therapeutic. I call it getting my baby or kid fix. They pare everything back to basics – remind us to be joyful and appreciative of the simple things in life.

They make us laugh, they make us cry. One extremely beneficial tool to have in your repertoire is a healthy sense of humor. As evidenced in this portrait of yours truly by my eldest son and ScuttleBugs alumni. I think it speaks for itself. And yes, it took some time to cool down, look back and finally chuckle.


Who can keep a straight face when the little munchkin is totally cracking you up? – it’s especially difficult if you’re trying to be serious or stern with them. Although not exactly in that manner, I loved this light-hearted exchange between one of our Mom’s (who had 4 children attend ScuttleBugs) and her daughter. “So Arya, can you name some of your new friends at school?” to which the following response was accompanied with very dramatic eye rolling and an exuberant sigh, “But mom, I can’t ‘cause they already have names!”


Life is not all fun and games though right? Of course we’ve experienced many of the negative aspects of life, both personal and professional. Working with kids and families is equally rewarding and taxing. It’s hard on the body, mind and spirit. I hold a special place in my heart for a single father who just needed a shoulder to cry on, and to hear he was doing the best he could for his son during that first year after the divorce.

I hold fast to the few memories I have of my preschool days, and wonder if I will be a part of others? Surely a handful, like little Miss S. who developed the sweetest crush on my big, hairy, scary husband. She is as firmly implanted in our memories as I think “Sir Geoff” is in hers! She even blushes in his presence to this day when we cross paths. I feel so blessed to have shared life with the families and staff who have passed through our doors, and am so grateful for their ongoing support and friendship. My youngest literally grew up at ScuttleBugs, where he met his first ever best friend. In fact, they are still thick as thieves despite graduating 2 years ago and going to different schools. Surely they will not forget each other and can visit that cubby house in their mind of many treasured times.


People always comment on how time flies when you have a child and that they grow up so quickly. It’s absolutely true, and furthermore I personally have found that the older they get the quicker it passes!

For all the precious memories I have kept, there are twice as many lost along the way. I wish I had of memorialized the special moments in image or word more often. We are fortunate to have numerous recording devices at our disposal these days, so use them people! Trust me, you won’t regret it. One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to capture (and share!) the hilarious or quirky things kids say and do whenever you can. We do, and our parents love us for it.


Of the thousands of little people and big people alike that I have had the privilege of knowing, there is no “normal”, no “perfect” one. We are all the same on the inside but should revel in and learn from each others differences. We know our endeavors will often go unrecognized and bring neither fame nor fortune. Regardless, we are the true champions of future generations. The bonds we form, the unsolicited love and affection we embrace, witnessing and sharing in the “aha” moments, these are the unparalleled rewards we reap.