Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Fourth Graders (and the baby I snuck in the 4th grade room)

Well, first, thank you to all of you who prayed our time with 4th graders would go well yesterday.  I am pleased to say I had a delightful time and I think the girls might have learned something about Jesus as well!  E had about 10 boys and I had 7 a room in the early childhood room.  Thank goodness, they brought in big kid tables and chairs.  They also brought in games appropriate for 4th graders instead of preschoolers but you wouldn't have known.  Our kiddos were immediately attracted to the preschool toys-dressing up as princesses and firemen, crouching around the train table, and roaring with the dinosaur action figures.  It's like the toys took them back six years and they were 4 again.  Lucky for us, they remembered how to read and respond just in time.

I have to admit to you I was super nervous.  My strength is not elementary kids.  Don't get me wrong--I love kids.  Of a certain age.  Namely, the baby age. I admit it. I am a baby person.  Any baby within ear or eyeshot? I'm  there!  I will soothe her, cuddle him, walk her up and down the hallway til we're both exhausted.  But 4th graders? Well, they're just not as comfortable to me.  They have some key differences.  Namely, they talk.  A lot. And they have opinions other than those expressed by a wailing cry or a dramatic tantrum.  I was a little worried I wouldn't be up to the task of overseeing seven 4th grade girls on their quest through the book of Mark.  But the Holy Spirit totally came through big time and the girls and I also felt at home.  And my college student who helped? Cool as a cucumber--you would assume she's a seasoned teacher instead of a sophomore in college.  In the span of two hours, the nine of us ate pizza, played an ice breaker, took a nature walk, went through the book of Mark in a serious group Bible study and made fun, get-to-know you pages.

When we finished our study, as the girls were making their get-to-know-you pages, I looked across the hall and heard and saw the screams of one of my favorite one-year-old cuties. She was bawling at the top of her lungs and the baby-sitters looked desperate.  So, knowing my strengths and the fact that my young ladies were content and making fun crafts, I did what any baby-loving, control freak would do.  I marched myself across the hall and grabbed her, without as much as asking! Yup, I took Cutie pie in my arms.  You see, this particular Cutie happens to be attached to me on Sundays. We spend every Sunday snuggling during church. So I knew I could get her to calm down and since they were a little short-handed in the nursery, they were happy to let me take her. Cutie and I went back to the fourth graders, chatted it up, and she laid out on my shoulder, exhausted. So I guess you could say I got the best of both worlds--I found out just how enjoyable ten year olds can be and I was rewarded with a baby!  And if you are wondering, the baby's momma was totes fine when I told her I took her on a little elementary school journey.

  A note on the get-to-know-you pages.  They were perfect examples of why I am falling in love with 4th grade.  I wish I would have taken a picture. I asked them all "one thing I know about Jesus" and "one thing I want to know about Jesus." Friends, I am tickled to tell you one of our sweet young women wrote a great piece about what she knew about Jesus.  And when it came to what she wanted to know, wouldn't you know that ten year old darling wanted to know Jesus' wardrobe choices? I died laughing. Hysterical.  We start so young, don't we?

I don't know if we'll get to the tunics and sandals Jesus wore but I do think we'll all learn a little about his character and how he affects our lives. In one night, I went from nervous to pumped.  I think it will be a great semester.

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