I teach a Bible class for four- and five-year olds at my church every Sunday morning. It’s my favorite age to teach. They are old enough to listen and understand the Bible stories but young enough that when I “roll the gospel chariot” they don’t look at me like I’m a total idiot.
If you’ve never had the privilege of sitting in a folding chair with ten precious children surrounding you in a semi-circle at your feet, you’re really missing out. As a special treat for those of you who have never experienced it, here’s how a typical morning would go:
(I’ve just read the story from Mark 7 when Jesus healed the deaf and mute man. I’m prepared for some questions seeing as how Jesus “put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Be opened!”’ The story only encourages five-year olds to go off-message.)
“So what was wrong with this man?” I ask, pointing to the picture in my hand.
“He was deaf!” The majority of the class rings out in unison.
One boy raises his hand. “One time…” (Nearly every five-year old’s story starts with “one time.”) “One time my mommy was giving my daddy a haircut and she cut his ear.”
“One time,” another girl chimes in, “My mommy dropped a glass in the sink and it broke into a hundred pieces. Then…” (Uh oh. Here it comes. This particular little girl hasn’t told a regular story all year. Every one of her harrowing tales must end with an unexpected twist. I wouldn’t be surprised if she grows up to be a screenwriter for a soap opera. Her best story ever ended in her own death. She apparently drowned when her mom threw her in a swimming pool full of sharks.) She continued: “Then my mom picked up the glass and there was a doughnut on it! (pause for effect) And she ate it!”
“Me and my grandma wear our pajamas when we wake up in the morning but you know what my grandpa wears?” asks a different little boy.
“What?” I ask nervously, hoping I’m not about to find out something very personal about his grandfather and his chosen sleeping attire.
“He wears his regular clothes.”
Phew! That was a close one.
Another hand goes up. “Okay, last one,” I say as I point to the outstretched hand in the back.
“Do you wanna hear how a dog laughs? Brrr-ha-ha-ha. Brrr-ha-ha-ha,” he says with all the seriousness of a professor giving a college lecture.
All hands have been called on and the kids are ready for paper crafts and goldfish crackers. Another fulfilling Sunday school class is coming to a close. Next week they will return with more stories and animal facts. I will try to remain in charge of this lively group, hoping they won’t notice that the kids outnumber the adults and a coup would be all too easy.