Cuteness overload, spontaneous minds, and energy-level unsurpassed: these words are not enough to describe what happens inside a classroom of ages 2-6. After two Sundays of assisting at Sunday School, I finally got to teach at pre-school yesterday.
The kids were pretty responsive and behaved, not quite the kind of pretty-chaos which I imagined. I have observed for two meet ups, and I encountered different kinds of behavior and personalities. The lady-likes, the hyper and energetic, the super competitive, the gentle ones, and the shy types — all cute and lovable.
I used to sit at the back with my newly found 2-year-old-best-friend named Jeune. She is seated at the back, waits until the praise and worship songs start to play. Her favorite song is “One Way Jesus” which has cowboys/cowgirls singing and dancing at the video’s background. As much as I could notice, she just sits at class and gets her eyes fixed at the monitor, until the favorite songs begin to play. She could not talk yet (I guess), so she communicates by pointing at things. For example, when she wants to dance, she points at her left fingers like doing a counting gesture, and from there I figured that pertains to the countdown which Sunday School does before kids praise begins. When I was attending to the other kids, I glanced at her and asked if she wanted to come near me. She smiles and points at me, so I guess that meant she wanted to sit at my lap. She did. When I asked for her name the first time I talked to her, oh well, guess what? She pointed at her name tag. (Face-palm teacher! In-your-face!)
These things made teaching at Sunday School quite challenging. Attention and Communication. Getting their ears and your message get across. How do you get the kids attention, while literally maintaining the peace and order around? How do you get the kids to bear their teacher’s best effort to explain what “honor”, or “idolatry”, or “peace offering in the old testament” means in a way that a 3-year-old-kid can understand? So yes, I had to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically ready. Spiritually ready to have the lesson first ministered to me, before I could share it with children. Emotionally ready in case I get softly snubbed at and toddler-zoned by the adorable kids who have attention span that can only last for the next three minutes. And, physically ready to sing and dance the morning off with children who seem to never ran out of energy in the body.
So I have imagined myself standing at the middle of the classroom, surrounded by little boys and girls, running around, too carefree to care, and too energetic to give some quite seat time with a first-timer Sunday School teacher. But I was, somehow at some point, proven wrong. Behind the angelic smiles and strong personalities of the bully-looking, are hearts so pure and so innocent. Hearts who recognize that they do (and need to) love Jesus above all else. I was talking with one of the girls. She was showing me all that her mom has bought for her. I asked, “Your mom loves you so much. Is she your best friend?” She said “No”. I asked, “Who then?”. She answered “Jesus. I talk to Him”. I was surprised and humbled. “What did Jesus tell you?”. She answered, “that He died for our sins”. I could not be more blessed with this 4-year old girl. I asked if she considers her mom her best friend because of the material things provided to her, but her answer reflected the most important thing which the world should be grateful for: Jesus Christ, who gave us the gift of eternal life, which no human being can ever give you. Wow! Teacher learned from baby girl!
Praise God for that day! It was a privilege to have served my Master by serving His dearly loved children. It’s a joy for an unworthy servant like me, who has only been qualified by His grace alone. I did not only teach, but I also learned!
A beloved sister of mine once said, “Sometimes, all you need to do is ‘say yes’”. And so, I realized. The only thing I did was to say “yes”! Regardless of the forecast busy schedule at work and the fact that I am not a pre-school teacher. I said “yes” out of my desire to enjoy the company of little kids. I said “yes” even though I think I was not prepared enough. I said “yes” because I know it’s God’s work, and I was just an instrument to fulfill His purpose. I said “yes” even if it means saying “no” to reading a favorite book, or watching an episode of a favorite soap opera because I had to study the lesson plan instead. I said “yes” even if at that moment, I did not yet see that saying “yes” to teaching those kids also meant saying “yes” to the overflowing joy brought about from an incomprehensible 1 hour and 30 minutes pre-school teaching experience; when I did not know that saying “yes” to first time experience, meant saying “yes” for more things to learn and look forward to from that one-baby-step I took.
This is God’s Word to the people whom He has called to rebuild the temple in the book of Haggai:
“But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” – Haggai 2:4