Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Curative Power of Cutting Paper

Yesterday was a tough day at work for many reasons, mainly those involving the schedule for classes that start in two weeks and faculty who may or may not be with us then and decisions that must be made by others before I can proceed in finalizing the schedule.  These are problems which will be solved in good time, but my strength/weakness is my efficiency, and when I feel I'm not being (or prevented from being) efficient, I get snarly.

I also get snarly when stuck in traffic, so after leaving work later than I like, I was stuck in rush hour traffic as I headed to church for Vacation Bible School.  I got out of my car with a sense of dread because I thought my activities planned for the night would fail.

We had some kits from Oriental Trading Company--a project to assemble with snowflakes and self-stick decorations.  I figured that would take about 5 minutes, so I thought we'd also cut snowflakes out of paper and decorate them.  I worried that this, too, would take 5 minutes and then we'd have time to fill and bored/hyperactive children.

But how wrong I was!  The kids loved the cutting of paper.  Some cut multiple snowflakes--yes, these children had never seen a real snowflake, most of them but that didn't matter.  Some of them realized that their snowflakes could be transformed into masks, so they had fun that way.  Some just cut the paper without discernable purpose.  Some loved gluing glittery shapes (but not glitter!  not the chaos of glitter!) onto their snowflakes/masks/abstract art.

Most were not ready to leave the Arts and Crafts room at the end of the session.  Of all the things I had planned, I thought this one had the most risk of failure.

I have not learned the lessons of my own arts and crafts room, have I?  It's about the process.  Success comes in many colors and shapes and may not look like what we expected.

Let me also note the joys of a well-stocked supply closet.  When someone asked for different paper, I had a supply.  When the first group used up all the paper I thought I would need for a whole night, I had a supply.  When someone asked for a popsicle stick for their mask, I had a box.

And let me salute the woman who organized the mess that was the supply closet several years ago. 

At the end of the night, I felt my good mood restored.  It's not the mood booster that we usually see touted.  After all, it's not easy to monetize this curative:  volunteer to work with children cutting paper and decorating the resulting art.

I am still tired this morning. I am still looking forward to a less hectic schedule when VBS ends.  But I am grateful for this time with this group doing good work.

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