This Sunday, I’ll finish my two-month reign of terror over the 4’s and 5’s Children’s Church. Teaching the kids has been a lot of fun, though I can’t wait to begin attending church services again.
I’ve learned a few things about kids while teaching both this class and (earlier this year) the 3’s class. I’m sure that many parents know these truths already, and I would probably have given lip service to these lessons beforehand, but it’s fascinating seeing them play out in the lives of the little poopers.
I’ve learned that kids are basically small versions of adults. They’re not a charming species distinct in behavior from the rest of the human race, as some people seem to think. They’re little adults, and they act like little adults, by which I mean that they are little sinners. Thank God that He made them so cute, or otherwise we wouldn’t be able to put up with them! Kids are not born innocent; rather, they are sinful at birth, just like the Bible says (e.g. Psalm 51:5). Don’t get me wrong—I love kids—but they’re still sinners.
First off, they are self-centered. It seems like every week, some kid or another starts crying or pouting because "I want my mommy!!" How selfish is that? Mommy is trying to spend time in the church service worshipping God; meanwhile, her little girl is incensed that Mommy is not catering to her every whim. I usually ask the kid to think, "What would your mommy want?" and that seems to work pretty well. Maybe it also works because the kid sees that I’m not going to give in and get her mommy. I’m still trying to learn how to respond when children start crying—when to comfort them and when to say, "Tough beans, kid."
Children are also self-righteous. Last Sunday, I was teaching about the story of David, Nabal, and Abigail. I asked the kids if they had ever refused to be kind and share with others. That seemed to strike a chord with them. They piped up, "My brother is mean to me!" "My sister doesn’t share with me!" So I asked again, "What about you? Have you ever behaved like that?"
And there was silence.
Of course they had never done that! (And certainly not in my class, for that matter!) They were blameless! God’s law applied to the other people, not to them!
As I said, kids are small versions of adults. Sometimes it’s like looking in a mirror.