I was assigned to go over to the building on the next street to teach a Religion class with the four year olds on Thursday afternoons.
I was thrilled. Not.
Working with kindergarten through seventh was enough for me.
On Chapel days I was usually exhausted having to work with a new class each week to present the chapel program.
The teacher whose class was featured usually had a mini nervous breakdown. They were sure that their class was going to get on stage and embarrass them, which never happened. Still there was a lot of stress.
I thought I had a right to put my foot up and breathe on Thursday afternoons after Chapel, but that was all ending now.
The following Thursday I drove over to the preschool for my class with the four year olds.
This was going to be a wonderful eye opening revelation of many things, but I did not know at the time.
Four years old is very special time in a childs life. They are not completely socialized as the 5 year old kindergarten students and they are very reflective and spiritual, especially if they are taught the things of God early.
I walked into the chapel and you could hear a pin drop.
Fifty four year old students and three teachers sat staring quietly at me.
I spoke to the teachers and asked if they were always so quiet.
They shrugged, “Sometimes.”
Well… I put my books, Bible and resources on the table and looked at the four year olds.
They looked at me.
I stared at them.
They stared at me.
The teachers had a far away look in their eyes like “Okay todays Thursday…then theres Friday…then….the weekend….”
I told the teachers that since the children were so well behaved, that they could go and take a one hour break.
Before I finished the sentence they were half way out of the door.
I looked at the four year olds.
They looked at me.
Suddenly I felt as if I was in the presence of wisdom. How could it be? They were only four years old. Then I realized that it was innocence and truth and trust in God. These little ones had been taught the word of God since they were born.
Finally I asked them why did they think I was there.
One little girl in blue eyeglasses held up her hand.
“You’re here ‘cause we got no religion!”
That was an answer that has never failed to bring me laughter over the years when I remember it.
What she meant was that there was no established Bible class for the 4 year old students. The teachers read them stories but no minister from the church met with them each week.
I will never forget the time I spent with those children. They had a spirituality and love for God that is hard to describe.
They had great teachers, true, but I believe it was because they had innocence and truth and had not learned guile and all of the things children learn as they began to associate with others.
Things like lying and tattling and trying to determine what the grownups wanted to hear, instead of just speaking truth as they knew it.
In spending time with the little children, reading to them and telling them about God, you will be surprised how many of your life’s questions are answered just by the things they say.
Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Mt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mt 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
Mt 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
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