In high school, I always helped in Children’s Church back home. When I was a senior, I was the Jr. High choir pianist and study hall monitor. During college, I counseled at summer camp and loved working with the teen girls (especially the junior high age). The last couple of years, my husband and I, along with two of our best friends, taught fourth grade Sunday School at church before taking a 6 month hiatus from teaching.
This September, they had a need in the 1st and 2nd grade classes. Now there’s an age that I haven’t had a lot of experience with, but they needed help, so I told them I’d be willing. I was a little nervous, but boy, am I glad I did. These kids are SO much fun! At age 6 and 7, everything is new and exciting! There is so much energy in the room with 12-18 kids each week! And, let me tell you, these kids are smart…not to mention funny too! Here’s a glimpse:
A few weeks ago, we were learning about God being our Creator. We took praises instead of prayer requests and one little girl raised her hand to praise God for “dogs and cats.” Another little boy raised his hand, “and Bats!” Another boy raised his hand, “and Rats!” (At this point they were just rhyming.) Finally, another shouted out, “And Cockroaches!!” My eyes got big and I smiled reluctantly, wrinkling my nose. I told them I would have a hard time thanking God for cockroaches and that I thought they must be part of the curse. Just being honest.
We took a few more praises for things like Mommies and Daddies, homes and schools, friends and family, and then we bowed our heads to pray. I began, “Dear God, Thank you for all of your creation, for dogs and cats,” and as I paused, I heard a little voice whisper, “and bats and rats and cockroaches.” I nearly laughed aloud in the middle of the prayer, as I continued, “…and all of your creation…”
I asked the kids about why we can thank God for trees, expecting answers like, “They’re pretty” or “They give us shade.” Instead, I get a 2nd grade science lesson on how the trees take in the carbon dioxide that we breath out and give us oxygen to breath in. I told you these kids were smart!
A couple weeks later, we were talking about the 10 plagues. We got to the Plague of Frogs, and one of the boys said, “They could’ve just eaten frog legs for dinner.” Smiling, I said, “But there were LOTS and LOTS of frogs! You couldn’t walk without almost squishing one under your feet. And, besides, you can only eat so many frog legs before you’re full.” His response (with a thoughtful expression on his face): “Hmmm. That’s true.”
Along with the Plagues, we were talking about how God is Almighty and our might is limited. We put 10 bricks in double-lined reusable grocery bags and tried to pick them up. Of course they each had to try! Most of them were able to get it a few inches off the ground, but it definitely tested their strength. The illustration took a little longer than I expected (since they all wanted to try and I had only factored in one helper), but several weeks later, they’re still associating bricks with the 10 Plagues and God’s Mighty Power!
Today we learned about God being our Provider. One really fun thing about this age is that several of them have heard quite a few Bible stories, but none of them have heard them all yet. So when we come across a story from the Bible that they haven’t heard, and their eyes light up, and they are in awe of God, it’s just amazing! One of the stories today was about God providing oil and flour for the widow and her son, and how the oil should have run out, but it just kept being refilled in the widow’s pot. With big eyes, they ask, “How did that happen?!” And the only answer is, “God did it! He provided for the widow and her son. Isn’t that amazing?!” Yes, indeed.
With talking about God’s provision, we learned that God “Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). I asked them what the word “Provider” meant, and proceeded to give them a mini Latin lesson, which they really enjoyed: “r” at the end means “one who,” “-vide” is like “video” which means “to see,” and “pro” means “before or above.” So, God being our Provider means he sees things before we do and gives them to us.
We named the things we needed so we could come to church today: clothes, food, water, and air (to name a few). The “air” portion brought up the discussion of the cycle between CO2 from humans to plants and O2 from plants to humans, and the “water” portion brought up “H2O,” so we had a mini biology/chemistry lesson too. I had drawn a diagram on the board. At the end of class, I noticed that one of the kids had come up to the board and written “+ 100% CHRIST” next to my drawing! 🙂
Last week was a review lesson and we sang a few songs instead of just one. The kids really got into it, so I decided to start singing a few more songs each week, still repeating the same handful so they can really learn them well. We started “We Gather Together” today, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Most of them didn’t know it, so we literally gathered around the piano to sing it as we closed class. What a blessing to have the little voices all around me, preaching at me to ask God for His blessing and return thanks for His deliverance and provision.