My first volunteer position at my new church was with preschoolers. I was just a couple of weeks in and I all ready was having serious doubts that anything we were trying to teach these kids was sticking. Worship time would begin so well, everyone watching the worship leader and doing the motions together. Then, halfway into the song, two of my 4-yr old cuties would join hands, circling as they sang. The singing and dancing would melt into giggling and falling on the floor. Donning my sweetest smile, I would point out the worship leader and the motions to the song, and we would be back on track again, for a good 38 seconds.
During the memory verse time, they would alternate saying the words with showing off their plastic bracelets that were the same hue as the sparkly headbands they were wearing. They would quote right along with the leader, “Jesus said, “ then one would remove the sparkly headband, point out the shiny, plastic butterfly affixed to it and off they would be again. Set my smile, whisper and redirect, and we are back on track again.
Next up was the lesson time. I purposefully positioned myself on the floor, legs stretched straight out, between my two besties. In my mind this was sure to keep them from engaging with each other and focus on the lesson. The lesson was about how God sent the angel to rescue Peter from his chains in jail. But, somehow, even a full-grown woman wasn’t enough to hinder this friendship. The girls would watch for 15 seconds then lean over me to whisper, oh so politely as to not disturb the class, something that just couldn’t wait for sharing. I’m sure I redirected their attention to the screen no less than 10 times in a 7-minute video. The video ended and the teacher was recapping the wonder of the lesson. I remember thinking, “Nothing”. They are getting absolutely nothing from this! Then, as if on cue from the very thought in my head, one of my dynamic duo leaned over to me and nodded down to my loafers I was wearing that day. “Those are like the chains he had on his hands.”
“What?” Glancing down at my loafers, there was a decorative piece of linked chain that ran across the top of my shoe. Yes. It is. The piece of chain on my shoe is just like the chain that fell off Peter’s hands.
And the doubt fell off my mind that day, as well.
If you feel like your few aren’t paying enough attention, that they aren’t paying attention at all, be encouraged. They are listening. They are getting it. Even though they seem to need constant redirection to stay on track, they really are on track.
It’s just that the track of a 4-year old is a little curvier than that of an adult!