Krish Kandiah over here has blogged on 4 May about his experience of conducting a Sunday School class. I heard him recently speaking at a conference run by Evangelical Alliance in my home church (see his post of 25 April) and he is a powerful communicator, well worth listening to. I (completely wrongly - I'm so ashamed) was hugely encouraged that this really gifted leader found working with the kids a challenge. Moi aussi, moi aussi.
My mum's a retired teacher and I have teacher friends (two of whom have been teaching Penultimate Child this session - how embarrassing).
Me? Well, I've "helped", after a fashion, and when I felt I had to, with Sunday School (the longest half hour of my week at the time - how do teachers do that full time?), play group, Parent and Toddlers, Creche, Boys' Brigade, Church Holiday Clubs and school Scripture Union over the years. And (whispers) I really don't like it (well Parent and Toddlers was good - the clue is in the name).
It's not that I don't like children. I've got four of the ankle-biting rug rats at home after all. The thing I don't like is the whole issue of discipline. Church clubs don't have the sanctions that school has (and we know that discipline's not an easy business nowadays even at school). We are in the business of being loving and welcoming to the children as much as we can. And yet we obviously don't want to let one or two wild ones (who're usually lovable when they're in their right mind) spoil it for the rest.
Anyway, Krish is asking for inspiration in his comments page, so go ahead and share yours.
Meanwhile, give me Bad Men in prison any day. Much better behaved and more respectful!
But a big THANK YOU and metaphorical bouquet for my children's teachers, Sunday School teachers, Scripture Union camp leaders and so on. Penultimate and Youngest's Girls Brigade Display on Tuesday was very sweet indeed, and I do appreciate the leaders' hard work and dedication.
Today I was at a buffet lunch in the centre of the city next to one of the jails. It was organised by a group of Christian leaders in the city (who have kindly included me in their group). The Lord Provost (kind of like a mayor really) and a Councillor and another of the city's executives were invited along to give them an idea of the amazing work the churches and other ministries across the city were doing. When you see it collated together in a powerpoint slide show, it's a lot. And of course (music to the ears of the councillor of course) the most wonderful thing is that it's all done for free. Lots of it includes work with kids, many of whom are from difficult backgrounds, and some of whom will be exhausting to work with for the leadership.
Sometimes I get a wee bit fed up with the abuse from many atheists, although I can see that we deserve an awful lot of it. But our churches are full of unsung heroes (many of whom have full time jobs but turn up week in and week out to love the kids for free) and, although it's sad to see the numbers of kids roaming the streets causing trouble, I'm pretty sure the numbers doing so would be a whole lot higher if these heroes weren't doing what I've, at least for the moment, given up as totally beyond me.
PS For those not from the UK, "STOP CHILDREN" is nothing to do with birth control. It's what our school crossing patrollers traditionally had on the lollipop-shaped sign used for ushering school kids across the roads. (I believe it's now been replaced with STOP and a picture of people crossing the road, "children" being clearly too big a word for us nowadays).