Archive for ◊ June, 2013 ◊

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• Saturday, June 15th, 2013

As a lifelong member of my church – and now one of the (ahem) older members – I’ve seen a generation of children grow up. The baby that was baptized (wasn’t that just last year?) is now in high school. That little boy that was always – absolutely always- getting into trouble in Sunday School has turned into a pretty neat young adult. The darling little girl who kicked the back of my chair during church services is just back from college with her new boyfriend.

Okay – a confession. I tried teaching Sunday School for about a year (that would be circa 1995) and realized I wasn’t cut out for the task. My vision of dozens of little angelic children sitting at my feet listening with rapt attention as I read them a Bible story lasted about 10 seconds into my first class. Clearly I didn’t know how to control rambunctious children who were far from entranced by the sound of my voice. And searching questions from the children about God or Jesus were beyond my “think-on-my-feet” capabilities. After about six classes, I decided to “retire” from Sunday School teaching before I did any damage to little psyches.

Not having teaching skills doesn’t prevent me from working with the children. I quickly found my niche in church school life by becoming a teacher’s aide. I would be the second adult in our Safe Sanctuaries church. And I love that role; am still doing it 25+ years later.

Although my duties at church school have only been to hand out crayons and help the children find Bible passages, I have been a part of my church’s education program for a long time. And I have been delighted to see the children grow and flourish in church.

I have children of my own who grew up in church (now adults and parents) and I have loved what they have become. But of course, I would – they are my children.

The children I see as an aide on Sundays are different. I don’t see them day in and day out – and I don’t even work with them every week. I see only hour-long windows of their lives about once a month. The years pass – and they grow up without me realizing it.

Today, it’s such a joy to see those paper airplane-making little boys from 25 years ago now dropping off their own paper airplane-making sons at the classroom door. And the little girl who was once instructed to call me Mrs. Hilliard now sits in a church meeting with me and calls me Linda. What were once my little charges, are now teachers and aides in their own classroom.

I think the coolest thing about all this is that during our Sunday service when our minister asks the congregation to respond to a question about God or Jesus, our young adults are the first to provide the answer. To me, that’s a part of what Sunday School is all about.