Hey guys, this is a very long post. 1600 words, so fasten your seat belts, and “We’re gonna cruise through this.”
And I got my cast off!
My Sunday morning start Saturday night. Usually it’s pretty late. I start by packing lunch for Kate and I, picking my outfit, and studying the next day’s Sunday school lesson. I pray that God will give me His Holy Spirit and speak to the children through me. I ask that He opens their hearts to hear, and He will guide me on how to handle the schedule on that particular day, as well as any difficulties or mishaps that might occur.
I spend the last three hours of the night half asleep and half awake, panicking that we will over sleep. The alarm rings at 7:00 am and Kate gets up to get dressed. She takes the longest, so I make her get up before me.
About 7:40 she is done, and I get up. I dress and make my hair. I am always read exactly 10 minutes after I enter the bathroom.
I double and triple check my supplies in my backpack, making sure I have my sweater, extra shoes if I wear heels, lunch, name tag, Frisbee, and whatever else I will need that day.
About 8:24 we finally leave the house. I always get pretty stressed at this point and cease to talk, popping a gum into my mouth to keep from biting my nails. That’s a bad habit I used to have, but I don’t do that anymore, cause I usually have gum.
We arrive 8:30. With a quick kiss to Steve, I heave the huge pack onto my back (I thought I lost that at the cross! XD) and Kate and I walk into the Sunday School building. I take a deep breath as I first enter the building. The smell that meets me is hard to beat, and even though I’ve been doing this for over 65 consecutive Sunday’s, (that’s about 15 months) it still hasn’t gotten old. A silly smile always creeps onto my face, and I bit my lip to keep it back. Should I? Is it embarrassing that I love Sunday’s so much? XD
I greet my friends and neighboring classes as I head to my own.
My class is always already open. Ethan does our tables for us. During the week, our building is actually used by a Christian school, so there are 6 tables lined up. They are pretty heavy, and since I started helping, the Children’s Ministry Director had Ethan set them up correctly for us. 4 of them are laid on their sides to create a fence, guarding off the half of the class we don’t use. The other two are left for us. This point always makes a smile creep up again. He never forgets, not ever.
I place my backpack on the sign in desk and attach my name tag to myself. Kate sets up the sign in book, name stickers, and wristbands. I go to the lunchroom and get water for snack time, and than any supplies we will need for that day’s craft.
Craft varies from Sunday to Sunday. If we have to many kids we keep it simple, if we only have 3 or 4 it may be something a little more complicated. It’s always based off of the lesson.
Our official “teacher” normally arrives, and before to long, the kids start to show up. I greet them all by name. It’s a little challenge I’ve created for myself, to remember all their names. I gets rather difficult when I have more than one kid with the same name, or they look the same. XD
About 9:00 the other classes line up and head to a bigger room where some of my friends (including Tanya) lead worship. I have to update my friends list soon.
My class and the 4 year-year-olds do not go because they are too young to appreciate it, and to hard to keep track of outside of class. XD
During this time each class has to leave at least on helper in the room to check in late comers. I always hang over the half-door of my class and chatter with them. The “teacher” and Kate, as well as any other helpers, have learned my routine, and leave me to talk, and they play with the kids for these 10 minutes.
9:10 everyone comes back to their classes and “school” officially starts.
We start by cleaning up the toys. Sometimes we sing the clean up song and I love hearing their little voices tell each other
Clean up! Clean up!
Clean up! Clean up!
Everybody do your share!
3 year-olds! I mean come on! That’s too cute!
Then we do songs. These kids are big bundles of energy, and I tend to have us all sing the more active songs in the beginning so they are ready to sit for the quieter ones. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I have to do another one or two of the shouting songs so they are willing to sit for snack time. XD
Then during snack I teach the lesson. That’s why I keep putting “teacher” in quotes. Here is what’s going on.
I’m 15. I’ve been in the 3 year-olds for over 15 months, missing only 3 Sundays when my family and I went on vacation. When I first started I was only a helper. The main teacher, Mrs. Dorthy was good. She treated my position the way it was, as a helper. The not so good thing about this set up was that after only two months of my being there she moved, and our class was left without a teacher! Strange, but not really, I became the head of the class. About this time Kate also joined the class to help, which was such a huge relief. Sure, substitutes would come and go, but to the kids I was the teacher, and to the subs too. They’d ask questions I didn’t know how to answer. I would have to deal with situations I had no experience with.
I thank God though, I was not all alone. I had another pair of teachers who had a class very similar to mine, that is, they taught the 4 year-olds. And they had been doing it doing it for a very very long time.
Ethan’s parents Rob and Sylvia were my hero’s ar I struggled through those first 2-3 months. And they are my guides now. Many times they took our class in when we had no teacher.
But since I’m only 15 I can’t put my name in the teacher slot on the sign in sheet. So an adult is almost always present to be the “teacher.”
Of course I highly respect them! Especially the sub we have now, Ms. Kelly. She has a degree in Child Growth and Development, and she is BEYOND helpful with the kids. I admire the way she looks at a situation and applies a new approach every time.
Even so, I teach the lesson. With 3 year-olds being 3 year-olds, their attention span is about 1-2 minutes. And if they are listening to someone talk, it’s about 30 seconds. So for my “lesson” I teach a very short, to the point story. I leave our extra facts, make it where they can understand (for example, instead of saying “There was an apostle names Paul,” I’ll say “So there was this one guy, his name was Paul”) and repeat the point several times. This still takes more than 30 seconds, so I act out some of the parts, and ask a lot of questions so they stay focused.
Honestly it’s really stressful to get the point across before their eyes glaze over and they start dumping their goldfish crackers into their waters.
After snack we do craft. They are never very elaborate, and normally take only a minute of two for each child. After that they either color a picture, or play with blocks or puzzles, depending on how active that child is. Sometimes they will start a rowdy game of hide and seek. They squeal and yell and laugh. I love it. We all tend to join in.
Then the parents come to pick them up. This is one joy that never flies by. By the time all the kids are checked out, matched to their jackets, and crafts, and pages and sent off with their parents and a cheery “Have a good week!” my cheerer machine is pretty tired and I need a reboot.
More often than not I would rather nap then eat lunch, but you can’t really do that at church. After saying hello and bye to random people I head to our coffee shop. It’s amazing how many people I know and recognize.
Sometimes, if my friends get out of their classes soon enough, we gather behind the church and play a few rounds of Frisbee or whatever game is the thing. Normally it’s the last 7-10 minutes before the service starts so we literally play until THE LAST MINUTE. XD
Then we all head inside for second service. We always shake hands and say hello to one another while our worship team get their guitars on and tuned, but it only lasts about a minutes, so we have to rush back if we leave our rows. XD
Our pastor is very skilled and we learn a lot about Jesus and the Bible.
After church during the summer we have fatted calf, but that’s a whole other post. By the time we get home I only want to change into some comfortable cloths and flop onto the couch, reflecting on the morning.
It all exhausts me and I only want to take a nap, but I love it so much I would do it all over again the next day if it’s needed. (I never actually do. XD)
So yeah, that’s Sunday mornings. Excuse the very long post, I had a good Sunday this week, if you can tell. XD Inspiration is everywhere.