Or so a kindergartner boy told me last night. He then proceeded to recite. "1 Corinthians 3:15 Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." It's actually 1 Corinthians 15:3 so we practiced that and then I signed off on his page.
He will continue to learn scriptures that coincide with concepts represented by the acronym SPARKS (woah that was a mouthful) and I will continue to gage/sign off his progress. Because he's in the Sparks class and I'm his Awana teacher.
Awana is like Bible scouts - a children's program with a weekly Bible lesson, game time, and then verse learning/reciting time where kiddos earn "jewels" to put on their Awana vests.
Yup, there are VESTS. How great is that?
Vests AND theme nights.
Crazy hair night - here we come!
When I was a kid we just did Bible Speed Drills.
That I'm teaching Awana and not Kevin is a big role reversal. In North Carolina, Texas, and our first church in Florida Kevin has led within the children's ministry.
I'm getting used to it.
It really helps that I have another kindergartner who has prayed for:
1. Boys to be able to have babies because he really wants a baby sister and his mom doesn't appear on board with this plan.
2. Time to stop so he'll have more time to play.
It's hard not to have favorites when you've got one who says things like this.
Blue is in the Sparks class with me, but whenever possible when we split up the class I send him with the other leader. Blue seems happy either way, but I'd rather just be wearing my teacher hat and not my mom hat too. (Mom hat corrections are more stern.)
Toby is a Cubbie. He can now recite, "God loved us and sent his son." Sometimes he'll add the 1 John 4:10. Usually not.
Now we're working on:
See how the Fragile X mom goes the extra mile to keep her kid on track? It's what we do.
As for Kaden... He's a TNT and I remind him to bring his bag/Bible/book each week and... Um. Hmmm. Three kids. Sometimes it's a lot. I have no idea what Kaden's up to.
The plan is that Kevin and I work with Kaden and Blue on their Awana verses and lesson Sunday nights after I put Toby to bed. That's happened once. It's a good plan though. We'll keep trying.
Is it "just another program?" Not to me. It's an introduction to the discipline that should come with our Christian faith. They are already learning that study of the Bible is work, fruitful, but work. They are already learning that drawing closer to God means building practices within our schedule where we learn about Him through what the Bible has to say about Him.They are also learning that hanging out with other Christians is good because we have a lot to teach each other on the journey.
Yup, I seriously think that all of that can come through with involving our family in Awana (or similar church children's program).
Last night I noticed in the prayer journal that Blue requested they pray for "safety as he travels" and I rolled my eyes because... we're not going anywhere. But this morning as I drove past the place on Gatlin where a 19 year old motorcylist was killed yesterday afternoon the thought came to me, we always need traveling mercies. All of us, all the time. (Thank you, Holy Spirit and Anne Lamott.) Because as my kids learned this past July when all we wanted to do was pick up a redbox movie within 2 miles of our house but wrecked the van in the process, accidents/suffering/pain happen. Anytime. Anywhere.
So we prepare. At church, in Awana. And sometimes (when the plan works out) at home. For the kids we encase it with fun and quick reward systems, but it is still an early introduction to the idea that we are not enough but Jesus is.
Whether or not he's going anywhere, Blue seems to get that traveling mercies are from Jesus.
I see people who, as adults, look back on their early church experiences with pain (judgment and guilt but no love) or ambiguity (fun, but eh, not really worth the time) and I pray a different future for my kids. I pray that this foundational time gives them the tools they need to make God-guided decisions when Mom isn't around. And I pray that they always want to live their lives involved in a faith community.
Amen to that too.
(A is also for Amen.)
And Active... We are actively involved in our kids homework and education process, we are active in getting them to partake in sports, and so we are also active in building their faith-life.
So for us, A is for Awana.