Sunday, July 1, 2012

Other Lessons from a Week of Vacation Bible School

--Songs are easier to remember if we have movements to go along with the song.

--Of course, words projected on a screen can help too.

--They only help if children can read.

--VBS dinners don't have to be complicated.  One of our most popular meals:  hamburgers from McDonald's.  And it can be one of the cheapest, at 25 cents a burger, if McDonald's is running their annual special.

--The eternal popularity of chicken nuggets:  some nutritionist should write a thesis.  Maybe someone has.

--This year, instead of dance each day, the activity changed:  2 days of dance, 1 day of drumming, and 1 day of yoga.  The first day was an introduction day.  It worked well.

--I used to scoff at the idea of a pre-packaged VBS.  But it's really a great alternative to those of us who don't have time to make all of this up from scratch.

--Even the snacks in this pre-packaged kit fit the theme of the day.  That idea would never have occurred to me.

--That said, I wonder if creators of this curriculum do it full-time.  I'd love to take my creativity in that direction.

--It's strange to me still to have VBS at night.  But it works.  Even if we'd had it in the day, I'd have been hesitant to take my classes outside.  Our church is on a busy road, and it was difficult enough to maintain control inside.

--It wasn't all fun and games.  It wasn't all learning.  We did a social justice project too.  Our VBS students now know a lot about malaria.  We raised money for the mosquito net campaign.  We made it a competition, boys against girls, to see who could raise the most money.  Each team raised over $150. 

--It's amazing how much money we can collect, even if the bulk of it is small change.

--And now we'll do a campaign to match funds.

--At roughly $4 a net, that's hundreds of children saved.

--I spend so much time anxious and afraid.  And yet, my life in an industrialized country is so easy, in so many ways.  I turn on a tap, and clean water flows.  I flip a switch, and light illuminates the dark.  My food comes butchered and cleaned.  I don't have to hunt or gather.

--For some of our children, VBS is the only thing they like in the church year.  The only thing!  When I think back on my church experiences, I don't remember VBS being a highlight.  I didn't mind it, but it wasn't a highlight.  Of course, my childhood VBS wasn't the kind of produced event that we see now.

--Many of my grown-up friends kept calling it church camp, as in "How's your church camp thing going at your church?"  And in many ways, it's as close to camp as children will get, down here where we're so far away from regular church camps.  We do much of the same things:  singing and arts/crafts and Bible study and making new friends. Camp and VBS serve the same larger purposes, to root some ideas in young brains, to convince children that this churchy stuff is fun and important and beautiful.

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