I only have time for a quick note this morning. But I wanted to make sure to record a few things from Vacation Bible School last night.
The most important thing from last night: many of the children were there last year, when we also worked with clay, which was last night's activity. Several talked about how much they liked working with clay. One girl said, "I made a big chocolate chip cookie. Do you remember? I still have it. It almost broke, but it didn't, and I still have it."
If I ever think that the work I do is not important, it's good to have this example in mind. Sometimes we just don't know what affects people. The trick is to approach every part of the day, and every interaction with each human, as if it might have some importance that will be revealed later.
You may or may not know that I'm leading arts and crafts at Vacation Bible School. Our evening is divided into 4 groups of time; our VBS is divided into 4 groups of children. The pre-K age is its own group, and the other groups are mixed. I worried a bit about that, but it went just fine. Each group had 25 minutes for Arts and Crafts. Last year the time seemed too short. Last night, I had a bit of lag time.
Last night I had the clay divided into sandwich bags, and I gave every child a lump of clay and a paper plate. I told them they could make whatever they wanted, and I made some suggestions. One little boy looked at me and said, "We're allowed to make anything?"
I refused to think about all the ways this could go terribly wrong, and I said, "Anything. You're only limited by the amount of clay that you have and the fact that you've only got 20 minutes."
His eyes lit up, and he got to work. For those of you worried that he would make something troubling, have no fear. He made an object that was more abstract.
Last year, the students could have worked with clay all night; I had to force them to come to a stopping point. Last night, many of them finished with time to spare. I should have probably had some sort of other activity. Last night, I had the children who finished help me set up for the next group.
I love working with children in this kind of forum. I also love working with the other adults. I like the way that it feels like a team effort.
On the way home, my spouse (who is on hand to take the pictures that turn into a "movie" that we watch at the end of the night) and I talked about the lessons that children learn from all of this. My spouse asked, "What will they remember about the Gospel?"
I can't really answer that, since I don't get to see all of the activities. But I hear the songs, and I watch the puppet show, and I know that we're doing a social justice project to raise money to bring clean water to developing nations. Even if children aren't going home with stories of Jesus ringing in their ears, they're going home with good lessons about relying on God and how much God loves them no matter what.
So, tonight, day two of VBS: we'll be decorating paper crowns. I'll also bring paper so that students can draw if they get done early.
(this post will appear on both my creativity blog and my theology blog, since I don't have time to write 2 posts)
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