This week in Sunday School was one of those weeks. I ended up leading the singing when I wasn’t expecting to because the regular leader didn’t show up — and neither did one of the classroom teachers so I also covered her class. I had just come off a busy week and was looking forward to being able to pop into the 9th and 10th-grade class because it was the day for their yearly Heidelberg Jeopardy contest against their parents. Instead, I spent the time with the 5 and 6-year-olds.
I usually like having an opportunity to be with the kids. But on this day I started the day near the end of my rope and the kids did too. Their behavior was off the wall. It began with the singing time and continued into the classroom.
The thing is, now I know exactly why these kids were acting the way they were. There was something unexpected going on in their lives outside of church that had them wired and they just could not settle down. Once I realized what was going on, I still didn’t like the behavior but I understood it.
As I reflected on this day, it is easy for me to realize that I took things to church from events that happen during the week. I was too preoccupied to think about what the kids are going through in their daily lives and what might be coming to church with them.
Even though I wish they had been easier on me, I’m grateful for the reminder that the lives of these kids are complex, too, just like mine is. So the next time I’ll be a little more prepared for their “enthusiasm,” both with ways to get them to focus on the things that the group is supposed to be doing but also because I’ll remember more quickly that things from outside of church get to them just like they get to me.