One year, when I taught a class of four and five-year olds, two of the young girls kept breaking loose from class and running and hiding throughout the church. They also kept distracting the class with their nearly constant conversation. I tried everything within my power to discipline them and get them to behave. Every time they did this, the rest of the children would laugh like it was a big joke. Finally, not knowing what else to do, I asked the girls’ parents if they could spare a moment when they picked up their daughters after class.
The parents of the first girl seemed confused about their daughter’s behavior. However, when the mother of the second girl arrived, the first girl’s father said, “Aha! Partners in Crime! Now this is beginning to make sense.”
I explained what was going on to the parents, and they assured me they would take care of the problem. They must have done so because I didn’t have any more incidents with the girls. I was relieved when I found out the parents cared enough to deal with the discipline problem.
One girl moved away, but I occasionally see the other one around town. She has grown into a responsible young woman and I applaud her parents for the way they raised her!
Discipline is not a fun task, but it is necessary. Scripture tells us, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
I’m thankful these girls are no longer “Partners-in-Crime.”
Escape to Papa:
One day in Children’s church, a group of teenage helpers took the children outside to play games for our activity time. Shortly afterwards, one of the little girls headed off across the lawn toward the driveway of the church. The little girl was several yards ahead of the teenager who was trying to catch her.
Suddenly, the little girl’s father appeared on the grass just in time to see his daughter running away from the group. The father quickly stopped his daughter, picked her up, and came over to the group to let us know he was going to take her home early. I knew this was the father so I was grateful to see him come. However, if this had been a stranger, the girl could have been in danger.
I thank God that this little girl didn’t escape the vision of the teen and most of all, the vision of God.
This incident reminds me of Proverbs 18:10 which says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” The Lord was this little girls strong tower that day because he apparently led her father to come out and check on her at exactly the time it was needed.
Escape to Pastor’s Sermon:
One Sunday morning two new children came to Children’s church. The parents dropped the children off at the door, but the children did not want to stay in Children’s church. After leaving the children, the parents went in to listen to our Pastor’s message.
After the parent left, I tried to encourage the two children to sit down so I could begin the lesson. With two adults and several teen helpers keeping an eye on the children, I thought they would be adequately supervised so I could devote most of my attention to the lesson. Wrong! Somehow this girl and her younger brother managed to sneak out of the room without anyone seeing them leave.
Finally one of the helpers realized that the children were gone. One of the teenage girls knew the family so I asked her to go check and see if the children were sitting with their parents. I was relieved when the teen helper reported that the missing children were with their parents in the sanctuary listening to the Pastor’s sermon.
Our Pastor’s sermons are very good. However, I thought the children would enjoy having fun doing a Bible lesson, craft, and snack with the other children. This way they wouldn’t have to sit still for almost an hour. I guess they preferred the security of being with their parents.
After the church service, my husband told me that the two little darlings had entered the sanctuary through the side door, crossing the stage while the Pastor was giving his sermon. Needless to say, I was somewhat embarrassed when I found out that my escapees had intruded on the Pastor’s morning message.
It amazes me to see how hard we will fight against the very things that are good for us! These two little children will never know the fun they missed that morning but I am certain they learned something good from our Pastor’s message.
Attendance Chart Blues:
One day, as I was taking attendance in my primary-age Sunday School class, the children were putting little stickers in the squares on the attendance chart which I had hung up on the wall for convenience. I thought the children would enjoy putting stickers on the chart and they did! However, I did not realize this would later become a problem.
On Sunday, while the children were putting stickers on the attendance chart, suddenly one student asked, “Who has the most stars?” Then the students all raced to the chart to check it out. Soon they discovered the answer and began hunting for the student with the poorest attendance. When I realized what the children were doing, I tried to stop them. However, before I could stop them, the children found the one with the least amount of stars and began teasing and making fun of him.
I stopped the whole class and let them know they needed to compare themselves to Jesus instead of each other, and in doing this–we all fall short. I also told them they were wrong in their actions and needed to apologize to the boy they had hurt with their words. After apologies were made, I tried to comfort the lad.
I found out later that this young boy’s father wouldn’t come to church because he wanted to stay home and watch sports on television. I also learned that this father discouraged the mother from bringing the family to church.
In conclusion, it was not the boy’s fault that he couldn’t come to Sunday School on a more regular basis. Therefore, he shouldn’t have been hurt because of his father’s decision and the capers of other children which were out of control. This boy was in a situation that was beyond his control. This was an unfortunate accident that can be avoided in class by keeping the class attendance in a private manner. This will reduce the chances of children comparing themselves to others resulting in one getting puffed up and the other getting hurt.
Children Picking Up Other Children:
One challenge would arise each week after Children’s Church when parents would send older siblings, under age 16, to pick up their younger brothers and/or sisters. Frequently the younger sibling would try to run away from the older one, or the two children would stand in the hallway, arguing about who was “in charge.” Also, at times, the younger children would run through the hallway yelling at other children they knew. Because of this unruly behavior and for the safety of everyone, something had to be done.
To combat the situation, we started requiring parents to pick up their young children after Children’s Church. Some of the parents weren’t happy about the new rule, but I knew it was the best thing for everyone involved. It gave me added peace to know the children were with their parents when they left and I was no longer responsible if something happened and someone got hurt. I loved working in Children’s Church but was always relieved when class was completed without incident!