Saturday, March 7, 2015


My substitute teaching at the church school has finally began to be a reality. They’ve scheduled me for next Wednesday in the upper level (Science and Bible), and then again the following week on Thursday and Friday, Ninth Grade and up (English). Yesterday was the biggest challenge, not for me, but most men would probably find it so: six hours with more than a dozen kindergartners. Talk about an old man stepping into a room full of energy! Even with a late start because of snow delay, for six hours there was little space where one child or another wasn’t either voicing opinion or asking a question, more often than not, the room erupting into community discussion. Chaos, it was not. We managed orderly studies with a gentle hand on the reins; but complete silence was a rare commodity along the way. I loved it. Navy. Railroad. Those were jobs. This is fun. My only stumble was after rehearsing the story of Jesus feeding the multitude, me asking them to draw and color that Biblical miracle and then, while monitoring their progress, discovering one boy, instead, having captured a remarkable likeness of someone’s stuffed animal there on their table. Gently (or so it seemed to me) I reminded him of the original assignment, examined other’s work, and found him, next time around, diligently trying to erase his crayon Rembrandt with an eraser. My inquiry as to why prompted him to lower his head and it was evident he thought me displeased with him; so Mr. Jim poured on the praise while suggesting a restoration of the original creation along with two fish and some loaves of bread. The two things that tickled me the most about being with them, though, was (1) one little girl’s loud, immediate response to the very first verse of the old “Hole in the Ground” song, a nonsensical lyric often adapted and utilized by me more than three decades ago with children’s ministries. An ugly black flea wearing Batman underwear was on a feather, on a bird, on an egg, in a nest, on a leaf, on a twig, on a branch, on a limb, on a tree, on a root, in the dirt; but before we even got past what was in the hole, she jumped up and enthusiastically donned that first item with the super-hero’s tighty-whities. Of all the seed I’ve tried to sow, this, it seems, is what managed to bloom where it was planted. Number (2) Was something learned today, one child, while visiting with grandma afterwards, recounted how much fun she had with the man who taught them, finishing her praise with the truth that the only trouble was, because he was old, he was also slow…….


  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all. That's great!

    1. Enjoying the ride, Mich, and looking forward to teaching in the upper level the next two weeks. Years ago I taught 9th thru 12th, all contained in the balcony over the sanctuary. Goo d memories.