Friday, June 15, 2007
Out of the mouths of babes...
I know it shouldn't, but this video cracks me up:
I'm thinking of hiring this little girl to help me out with my rowdy Sunday School class. I know some little monsters that could use a good 'ass kickin' ;-)
This Sunday is "Children's Sunday" at our church, and as Sunday School superintendent it was my bright idea to have the kids run the whole show, from sermon to communion. I finally got them all together to rehearse last night and this morning I swear I found a new patch of grey hairs sprouting from my skull.
You know, I always envision how these rehearsals will go the night before: I will explain to the kids what they need to do, they will listen and then they will proceed to do what I tell them to do (stop laughing) we run through the program several times, and we're out of there in an hour oozing with confidence that all will go well come Sunday.
The reality is: I spend 15 minutes trying to get them all to stay in the same room while I discuss their assignments. I distribute neat, color coded folders for each child with all the needed bulletins, scripts, hymns inside, which they proceed to dump the contents of which all over the floor because "Shannon wants the green folder" and "Ick, I hate purple" and "Why do I always have to have yellow!"
I then try to explain what each paper is and how important it is for them to keep track of their parts while they completely ignore me as they are engrossed in an impromptu game of "let's get markers and decorate the folders with our names." (yeah, but in Sunday School they "haaaaaaaate doing crafts").
Once we get everything sorted out we proceed to the sanctuary to practice.
We're not 5 feet inside the door before one child has her shoes off, two are sliding up and down the pews on their backs, two have turned on the sound system and are in the pulpit yelling in the microphone, one is pawing at the new $20,000 piano that we just received as a donation and is repeatedly asking "can I play this? can I play the organ?", two are in the back of the church looking for trouble in the narthex, one has the communion plate and is threatening to use it as a Frisbee, and one is in the choir loft dangling a stuffed tiger over the balcony ("it's not Tigger…it's Hobbes!")
For the next 30 minutes I have them run through everything that they need to do while they wander off, ask questions unrelated to what we're doing, insist on going to the bathroom every 5 minutes, and generally carry on as if I'm just a voice buzzing in the background.
Apparently when I say: "Guys, you need to be quiet and pay attention because this is really important," they hear: "This is not important, please continue talking, sorry I interrupted you." Using my 'outdoor voice' bought me a few minutes of compliance but some just looked at me, waited one-one-thousandth of a second, and then went right back to doing whatever it was I asked them not to do.
Can you tell this is my first year teaching Sunday School? Can you tell that I have very little experience trying to control a group of hyper-active children?
Would it surprise you if I told you I came home last night with a big grin on my face?
I'm learning as I'm going, and as trying as nights like last night are, I enjoy doing it.
I like the kids and I like seeing them learn new things as they explore and experience the world around them.
Come Sunday the kids will do fine. I'll have to prompt them I'm sure, but they'll pull it together.
In an empty church with just little 'ol push-over me to control them last night they went wild, probably because they could…unlike on Sunday mornings when they're forced to sit in one place and pay attention until they file out to Sunday School, last night they saw that empty church and couldn't resist the urge to explore and do all the things they want to do in that space but can't because the adults wouldn't approve.
A church sanctuary is for Worship; it's a sacred space because it's God's House.
But if I went over to God's House and all he had to sit on was plastic covered furniture, and he had all these neat things that I could look at 'but not touch', and I was told to 'sit down and be quiet' while He talked about a bunch of boring stuff with a bunch of boring adults, I don't think I'd want to visit God's house very often.
Church is where we adults go to explore the ways in which God touches our lives, and we do it in community because it's more fun that way.
Church is where children go to explore the ways in which God touches their lives as well….it's where you can explore what the pews feel like when you slide along them on your back, how different the view is when you stand in the pulpit or hang over the balcony, what your voice sounds like on the microphone that only the adults are allowed to use….and you do all these things with your friends, because it's more fun that way.
These kids will do fine on Sunday.
And if not, I know a little girl who would be willing to 'kick some butt' for me if needed.