This is why I love working with kids

So a bit of background.  I work with the elementary kids at my church.  K-5.  I love this age–the young ones, who are just starting to get socialization skills and doing stuff away from mom; the fifth graders, who think they can take on the world.  The girls that are just starting to become girls, and the boys that are just such a boy.  It’s always a blessing to be able to work with them.  On Sunday mornings I teach every other week.  There is the main lesson, then we split into small groups.  I have a helper, her name is H, she is awesome.  She was actually one of my kids when I first started working with the group, and the last two years she’s been one of my leaders.  A ninth grader, she is fast growing up into such a beautiful girl.  On Wednesdays, I help with the kids choir.  This year, we have 119 registered to be in our production on March 3.  Yes, you read that right.  One hundred and nineteen children.  When they’re on, it’s amazing.  And working with them, while you sometimes want to smack them upside the head and tell them to get with the program, is usually an amazing thing as you see them filled with God’s grace.

So we’ve been bribing the kids the last few weeks.  Not a pretty way to put it, but it’s the truth.  We’ve been randomly handing out Airhead candy to the kids that are doing well.  They’re so funny–they know the rules.  The minute they get it, it goes under their seat and waits until 650 when choir is over to pull it out.  The first week that we did it, the kids asked me what my favorite flavor was.  I was honest–I’ve never had Airheads candy.  Didn’t know what it was.  Had to ask.  Not a big candy lover, I figured I wasn’t missing much.

There are two kids that try to see who can get there first to sit next to me on the top row.  Both are fifth graders.  One is a girl who is new to the group who I got to know during the Christmas production.  She’s really starting to joke around and lose the shyness, and is such fun.  The other is a boy who was grown in the church and who is from what I consider one of the finest families in the church.  His older sister is now in sixth grade, younger brother in second.  And this kid, wow.  All of them, really, but this one is what we call raised right.  Just like his sister.

Which is why I thought it odd the last few weeks.  He kept telling me, “Miss Kelly, I don’t understand.  I know all the words, I sing loud, I stand up when I’m supposed to, I don’t talk when Miss Lisa says not to talk.  How come I haven’t gotten an Airhead?”  I would answer I don’t know, J, they hand them out at random.  Keep doing well, and you might get one.  For three weeks he kept asking me.  Then tonight, he finally got one.  Orange flavored to boot.  As soon as he got it he turned and handed it to me.  I looked at him like he was off his rocker, he wanted it so badly.  I gave it back to him, and he said, “No, Miss Kelly.  That’s why I wanted one.  I wanted to give it to you because you’ve never had one before.”

Doesn’t that just melt your heart?  Have to admit, I felt a little shamed thinking he’d been complaining a bit much about not getting one.  Leave it to God to teach me a lesson at the most random of times.  Such a beautiful moment.

I didn’t take it, of course.  Gave it back to him and said it was all his, he worked hard for it, he could have it.  And he gave me a huge hug.  And I still have a giant smile on my face from this precious, precious child.  Love him.

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Hostess/Martha or Content/Mary?

Yesterday was a day-long (well, five hour) women’s retreat at the church that I grew up attending.  It’s a fine church, filled with many fine women.  With a friend, we comprised the entire 20-45 demographic, but it was still fun.  I have this thing every time I attend that church though–I call it attending church-lite.  I feel like there is no meat there sometimes.  For example: I knew I had to watch what I wore, the makeup I had on, and how I had my hair because my mother would be there–and those are the things that are important at these events.  Still, it was a nice time, and it was great to see old friends.

Back to the point: one of the breakout sessions yesterday was on how to be a hostess.  “Extending Hospitality: Welcoming Guests and Easy Entertaining”.  All about how to be a great hostess, to make sure that everyone’s needs are met and taken care of and that all are happy.  Even came with a recipe book emailed after class so you could have a bunch of hors d’eouvres  to choose from.

Today’s lesson at kids church: Continue reading

Proud parent . . . of 115!

Tonight was the big production of the weKids choir.  I’m so stinkin’ proud of them it’s absurd.  As soon as someone throws up a video of them on  YouTube I’ll link here.  Needless to say, I’ve been at church since 8am and was tired and cranky and somehow once the music started for our preshow as the OVER 900 people showed up to watch our kids, it was worth every minute of it.  Now, I’m off to get some sleep.

So stinkin’ proud

This morning I got up before dawn (which if you know me is pretty darn impressive) to be at church by 7 and at the mall by 720.  The kids from the choir I assist in were singing the national anthem and providing entertainment for the SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) 5k that occurs out by the mall.  We have 115 in the choir, and since this was optional were hoping that 40 or so showed up.

We had that, plus a few more! The parents were so enthusiastic to take photos that they couldn’t get out of the way of the runners that the runners could watch, but that’s okay.  It made them look good.  We (meaning the kids) sang for about an hour, doing very very well in the FREEZING cold. Parents cheered and passed out fliers

But the best part was this little girl in a pink coat.  She kept bringing her grandmother over to see the kids sing, and eventually the grandmother let her walk over on her own.  She was copying the movements for some of the songs, and after about ten minutes and walked so close that she was IN the group.  Best part of all?  The last song the kids sang has no movements, so we just had the director up front.  And this little girl thought they were the movements so she was doing them as best as she could, right along with the leader.

Absolutely adorable!

I am always amazed by the SEEK kids!

Last night was the annual concert by my church’s youth group.  160 active kids got up to sing.  Normally they also have a fund raiser for their summer missions trip, this year they decided there is enough going on in the world that they can do missions right here at home.  So that was the theme–hope, faith, and community.  Later this month they are going to have a market in town where people can come and ‘shop’ for services (haircuts, medical screenings, etc.), food, clothing, whatever.  At no charge.  And it will be run by the kids.

They were absolutely amazing.  I am always inspired by these kids and hope that if I ever have a family of my own some day that they can be as plugged in and as deeply rooted in their faith as these children demonstrate.  How very inspiring.