Written by Katie H.
If there is anything I have found to be true, it’s that time flies. I began working at Learning Express during my sophomore year in High School. Now two years later, my senior year is coming to a close as each day nears graduation. Very soon I will be leaving my friends and family behind as I will be attending the University of Minnesota in the fall. Not only is the thought of starting a new chapter in my life surreal, but it is a bit intimidating. I remind myself that I’m well prepared, I’ve done well in school, and college is just an extension of what I have already learned. But I would be lying if I said school was my only preparation for this next step. Now I know from my parents and friends at school that most people view a high school job as a way of earning some extra dough. However at Learning Express, along with having the privilege of working with some of the most amazing people, I have learned numerous life lessons that I will carry with me to college, and most honestly, for the rest of my life.
Although a few of us at Learning Express have joked about the hundreds of essays you could write about what you learn working in a toy store, I have condensed them into 5 life lessons, for people of all ages.
1. Be yourself
Growing up I enjoyed playing with a vast array of toys. Yes I was occasionally the stereotypical girl where Barbies and My Little Ponies littered my bedroom floor. More often than not however, I was reaching for my brothers G.I. Joes and Legos. What I find significant in this is that there is no such thing as a “boy” or “girl” toy. Allow children to choose whatever type of toy they like. Allow them to be themselves. Toys are mechanisms for which children experience the world and learn. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Never Stop Learning
Working at Learning Express (it’s in the name) I have done many things that have challenged me or brought me out of my comfort zone; but with each situation I gained more wisdom than I had before. Teaching Rainbow Loom classes, I have seen kids challenge themselves with new bracelet patterns. They don’t always get it on the first try, but I am always fascinated by their drive to succeed. No matter how old you are never cease to fill your imagination and boundless curiosity with knowledge.
3. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong
I don’t have much to say for this one, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Needless to say, life can be a balancing act at times, and I think many of us forget to do what makes us happy. I am so thankful that I have a job where work is just as important as play. Yes, there are moments when all of us working the floor are running around trying to get things done, but at the end of the day, I’m glad we can get together to enjoy a fun-filled game night.
4. Love your family
Not just your mom, dad, brother or sister either. Not all families are defined by such relations. Here at Learning Express, we are a family. Whether it’s your kids’ soccer team, religious group or just a couple of close neighbors, take the time to plan that game night and enjoy being together.
5. Never grow up
As many have already said in their blogs, we all have an inner child that never leaves us. The second most rewarding experience working in a toy store is the chance to see a child light up over a new toy or go crazy over our giant K’Nex Ferris Wheel. The most rewarding is watching an adult have the same excitement over a favorite childhood toy or something completely new. Keep this inner child alive by playing with an old favorite or trying a new game, but never hold back the fascination and endless curiosity that comes with childhood and is an inspiration to all.