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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Teachers (07/12/04)

TITLE: Ten 3-year-olds and the Teacher
By Lois Prozorovsky


“Okay, who remembers who we talked about last week?” I watch nine little bodies squirm in their seats. A tenth child drops a goldfish cracker on the floor, picks it up and eats it, before I can raise a hand to prevent it.
“Remember who was born on Christmas? Can anyone tell me the baby’s name?”
“God?” ventures Brianna. I nod and smile.
“Yes, God came here as a little baby named Jesus,” I remind the kids. “We talked about that last week. Now we’re going to talk about some things Jesus did after he grew up, after baby Jesus was a grown up like your mom or dad. Jesus was a teacher; he taught that people should love God and love each other.”
Jessica whispers loudly to Trevor, an argument building. Miss Mandy moves in with more lemonade and crackers. The two are quiet while their mouths are full.
“Jesus told a story about a man who got hurt and was lying by the side of the road bleeding,” I continue. “Two people passed by without helping that man, because they didn’t like to deal with people who might be very sick. Then a man came along who was a Samaritan—someone the other people didn’t like and sometimes made fun of. What do you think that person did?”
Billy and Jon have their heads half under the snack table, where each one is trying to step on the other’s shoes. Hannah raises her hand: “I’m out of juice!” Again Miss Mandy moves in with the pitcher. I hand Billy a picture of a wounded man and Jon a picture of a Samaritan. “Could you hold these up for me?” I ask, smiling.
“Okay,” I say, louder, “if our family and friends were sick, we would all want to help, right? But it would be harder to help someone who didn’t like us or who made fun of us, right? But that’s why Jesus’ story was special: the Samaritan knew that we should love and help everyone. If we were sick, we would want others to love and help us, right? So that’s what the Samaritan did.”
“Can I go to the bathroom?”
“Yes, Jimmy. Don’t forget to wash your hands.” I rub my temples. “The Samaritan picked up the sick man, cleaned where he’d been hurt, then took him to an inn till the man got better. An inn is like a motel,” I add, because Ashley is bouncing in her seat. But she has a different question.
“Can I go to the bathroom too?”
“Sure you can, but can you wait till Jimmy’s done?” Ashley’s eyes get larger; I knock on the bathroom door. “Hurry, Jimmy! Okay?”
I take the pictures of the wounded man and the Samaritan away from Billy and Jon and place them on the flannel board. Then I bring out a new picture showing the wounded man in bed, now joyfully recuperating. “Jesus says we should love and help everyone we can, just like that Samaritan did. Any questions?”
Trevor’s hand shoots up. “Yes, Trevor?”
“How do those pictures stick to that black thing?”
Okay, I’d been hoping for questions on the story. Still, everyone shows keen interest as I demonstrate how the fuzzy stuff on the back of the pictures sticks to the fuzzy black cloth covering the board. Momentarily, nine children silently lean in to watch the fuzzies collide. Even Jimmy scoots out of the bathroom to watch. In the excitement, someone’s lemonade spills to the floor.
Ashley bolts for the bathroom. I grab napkins and kneel by the snack table. Suddenly, Bailey, who has been sitting silently in her chair till now, appears at my elbow with a roll of paper towels. As I throw Bounty on the spill, it clicks. “Thank you, Bailey, for helping me,” I say loudly. “See kids? Bailey thought about what I would need to clean up this spill. She didn’t have to help me, but she did, just like the Samaritan. Jesus wanted us to love each other and think about what other people need. Understand?”
Still kneeling, I pop my head above the snack table to look at the class. Several hold out snack napkins toward me. All, despite previous distractions, are focused on my problem of the lemonade spill.
That’s why I come here week after week: the Teacher always has a lesson for me.

Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight07/19/04
Nicely written! I could feel the frustration.
Lynda Lee Schab 07/19/04
This was great! I've been there with the nursery/children's church teaching (2-3 year olds) and you described the "lesson" scenario to a T! But no matter how much it seems like they're not paying attention, you know the Holy Spirit is planting those seeds somewhere in the recesses of their minds! (Somewhere between "I have to go to the bathroom" and "Can I have another cracker?")
Great humor, nicely written. I really enjoyed this one!
Blessings, Lynda Schab
Randy Chambers07/19/04
Very nice. I enjoyed the story and the message. Well done. And thanks to all you who serve in such a way!
Mary Elder-Criss07/20/04
Ah, Lois..how I know every feeling you just described..it was like I was observing my own Children's church class while someone else attempted to teach my kids..right down to the bathroom runs, the questions over the flannel boards, and the spilled drinks..Lol...I was right there with you..but Lynda is right..those seeds are still being planted, even when you think NONE of them heard a word you said...this was a great entry. Thank you so much for sharing, and God bless you as you continue to serve Him in this very special way. ~Mary
John Hunt07/20/04
Very well written, a delight to read.
L.M. Lee07/22/04
great story...and you have my utmost respect!

I have a friend that says, the reason they don't teach small children, is because Jesus says to love the little children.

I have to agree! Lock me in a room with 100 teens and I'm fine...but 5 3-year olds will do me in every time!
Deborah Porter 07/23/04
Lois, this was delightful. The interchange between the teacher and the children was perfect. I'll send a link to both my sister and my daughter (both involved in children's ministry). I think it will bless them. With love, Deb
Lois Prozorovsky07/23/04
Thank you all for your kind comments! I'm learning humility and love, and I hope the kids are learning, too. Jesus plants and cares for the seeds, as Lynda said and I trust Him. Some days, though, it seems like the "take home" message on Jesus (for many of the kids) is pretty much whatever is said when that lemonade spills. That's probably true for adults, though, too. Again, thanks!
Marcell Billinghurst07/23/04
What a lovely story, full of the joys and frustrations of teaching young children. My father used flannelgraph as a teachers aid when teaching Sunday School when I was a child. Well written.
Karen Treharne07/25/04
Perfectly written and expressed. Very enjoyable, with good dialogue and description. You are a blessing to those children and a blessing to us for sharing this story. May God continue to bless you with your willingness to teach and be taught, and your ability to tell others about your experiences.