Tonight I walked into the Junior Church room and got some puzzles out of the closet and onto the table. Since no little kiddos had arrived yet, I decided to put my organizational skills to the test by tackling the books in the closet. After that was finished, I stared across the hall as the 4's & 5's classroom filled up with kid after kid after kid. Meanwhile, I sat on a kid-sized chair waiting for a kid to show up for my class. Just one. That was all!
Finally one kid did show up and began to work on the puzzles. The next one was a not-so-happy visitor child who would much rather stay with Grandma and Auntie rather than me. But she suddenly changed from not wanting me to wanting my lap. I suppose the clown puzzle won her over;). After that, it started rolling. Joshua, usually so very happy, started this crying/poochie lip/"I want Daddy..." thing; Margaret wasn't too happy with Kaysha or I; and the Joeys (yes two of them:D) didn't want to leave their Mommas right away. Finally one kid would settle down, but then another one would take a look at either Kaysha or I and start bawling.
We had a few kids try to outdo each other with the whole crying thing: first Joshua, then Margaret, and then back to Joshua. Aiy-yiy-yiy-yiy-yiy! We were definitely batting a thousand! Eventually we got to the story time about the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking what must he do to go to Heaven. So I stopped the story, and asked, "When you die, where do you go?" and Joey answered so nonchalantly, "hell". Oh. Ok!
Next I asked several kids if they loved Mommy & Daddy. After shaking their heads or answering "yes" I said, "God wants you to love Him even more than your mommy or daddy." So I turned to one little boy, and asked him that question: "Stephen, do you love your Mommy & Daddy?" He sat there and said after a long pause, "Ummm..... no." I recovered quickly and asked him what he did love and he replied, "my truck!" Oh wow! I think we were rapidly heading down hill:).
There were a few other "incidents" tonight, like one little girl telling me her daddy got unclothed (she forgot to mention he had a swimsuit on!) or one little boy who came running out of the bathroom missing his clothing from the waist down but proudly proclaiming, "I went potty BY MYSELF!" But you know what? I love teaching junior church. It adds so much life and laughter to my day, and it is so sweet to have the opportunity to be a guide for these little ones.
It might not seem important to most people, but I guarantee you this: just unleash the junior church kids and let them sit upstairs in "big church". All it would take was one service (perhaps two if a few people are hard of hearing!) to realize that junior church is important! I'm so glad that I get to be one of their (many!) teachers. I think back to the first class I taught; now many of those kids are in 4th and 5th grades! It is special to have them as babies in the nursery; teach them as toddlers and pre-schoolers in junior church; and work with them in the elementary. Of course I'm gonna start feeling really old when those kids that are in 5th grade now graduate from high school! But that day is a far away day. Until then, I look forward to teaching the 2's & 3's come Sunday morning in Sunday School. Each time is special; each student a joy. But I'm ready for more laughs as a result of childhood innocence!