I have had fun teaching our Kindergarten and First Grade Sunday School Class this year. There is nothing better than spending time with 5-8 year olds. They are LOUD! I’ve been known to say to parents as they come to pick up their child, “They aren’t mis-behaving, they are just loud!”
Inside voices are so hard to use when you have a story that is bursting to come out of your mouth. Even when they pop one hand over their mouth and thrust the other in the air to be given their turn to speak, it is as if the words are screaming through the ends of their fingers! It is even more challenging when during a children’s sermon there is a child with a hand up the whole time, begging with their eyes to be heard. I have to do that teacher thing: keep talking, catch the child’s eye, hold up my hand, shake my head no, and smile comfortingly all at the same time. Sometimes I can catch them after the mic is turned off or after services are over, but not always; and that makes me sad.
What I see most often is our children have so much to say, and they want to say it to an adult they feel cares. During Sunday School I may be sharing the story of Zacchaeus and the story a child shares is about their cool new toy. I find myself in those times being a facilitator, asking questions of the story teller, or drawing other children into the conversation that meanders back to the content of the Zacchaeus story (important), but it is on the journey that the children discover something like: there is someone else that doesn’t like to share and Jesus wanted to hang out with them. And spending time with Jesus helps us to want to share. Or not. Sometimes it’s just about the new toy. And that is OK, too, because that child goes home having had the chance to say something important to them to an adult that cares.
The way adults at KBC interact in the hallways and gathering spaces with children is one of the things (#ywlmc) you would love about my church.
And one more thing: kids really are ok when an adults answers their question with, “I don’t know.” Because most of of all, the children want to be heard.