Last night, we started two new children’s programs on Wednesdays; Simple Girls and Royal Ambassadors (RA’s). Jane and her team of ladies had fifteen girls. We had six boys. The RA leadership team all had prior commitments and couldn’t make it, so I filled in with the help of Erin Prince and Jeremy Cashwell. I had already gone over the lesson plan in case the RA leadership team needed any help, so I knew what to do.
Suzie Cashwell graciously (on the spur of the moment) filled in for me to teach the adults. There wasn’t any need to worry about what kind of job she could do because she’s an Class A teacher with a deep knowledge of the scriptures.
It’s been quite a while since I taught young boys, and I’d forgotten how much energy they had, especially at the end of a long school day. As many of you know, RA’s is a mission’s organization geared for young boys that’s similar to the Boy Scout program. Despite the excellent material and valiant effort, Erin, Jeremy and I struggled to keep them focused and on track for what seemed like hours. In reality, it was only forty-five minutes.
At one point, we were getting the video ready for a look at poverty in the Appalachian Mountains when one boy hit the ground, holding his face and wailing. Oh no, an injury! I asked the other boys what happened, expecting a culprit to be named. Nope. It turns out that they were using their hands to roll their eyelids back as far as they could, and the injured boy accidentally poked himself in the eye. I’m sure that I tried that eyelid rolling thing when I was their age, but I don’t recall poking myself in the eye.
Finally, Allen Gollick took them outside for some soccer which I might add, didn’t resemble a soccer game nearly as much as a free-for-all kicking / keep away game of sorts.
On the way outside, we passed the Simple Girls classroom, and I marveled to see fifteen little girls all sitting quietly, listening to Jane teach about Eve. Obviously, boys and girls are as different as night and day, and I mean the darkest, blackest night with no moon or stars and the brightest sunshiny day imaginable.
Later that evening as we lay in bed watching Fraiser on NetFlix, I wondered how I could capture the imagination of those young boys for missions (or anything). It occurred to me, and I’ll give the Spirit credit for this, that what we do for children is never lost on them. Even if they are rolling their eyelids back in their heads, they instinctively pick up on our concern and compassion. It’s like planting seeds. Once they’re in the ground, God takes over and causes them to grow.
I’m not sure if they learned a lot about poverty and missions in Appalachia last night, but they were aware that three adults and a high schooler cared enough about them to “border collie” their immense energy, and channel it to concern and compassion for others.
I was also reminded of another young boy who at one time gave his Sunday School teachers and RA leader fits. He didn’t turn out so bad.
Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.