Have you ever had a small group that ended up being a large group? One morning my kids kept checking and checking in and when I looked up—twenty five little preschoolers were staring back at me. If you’ve ever had more than ten kids in your group, I’m sure you know exactly what I was thinking and just how little time I had to think about it! I simply got started and hoped for the best. Little did I know, I would end up coming out of that morning with a story that I was not expecting.
It was time for the bible story, and we had all seated ourselves in our movie room. The video started, and the kids were all doing what they were supposed to until suddenly, up popped Scotty. Of course, when one kid jumps up, another one always follows him, and I followed right behind them both wondering what shenanigans I was going to have to deal with.
I went out into the hallway with these two three-year-olds and asked them where they were going.
Scotty said, “I’m afraid!” He plopped himself down on the little stool under the drinking fountain, put his elbows on his knees and his face on his fists. I asked him why he was afraid, and he answered, “Mom is not here.”
I was just about to give him the whole spiel I normally give kids about how their moms were going to be back in a little while, we should do this other thing to make them proud until they get back, and by the way, here’s a toy to distract you! Just then, Loren, a little girl who had followed him, piped up and said, “Scotty, when I’m afraid, I just take a really deep breath and everything is ok.” Then she laid her hand on his shoulder with the most empathetic look on her face.
WOW! Have you ever heard of that? A three year old gave Scotty some great advice! My heart started changing, and my stress from having so many kids there melted away.
As sweet as Loren’s advice had been, Scotty obviously didn’t want to try it, so I asked both of them if they wanted to pray with me. I reminded them that we had been learning about fear and that God can help us when we are afraid. Then all three of us took a minute to pray about the situation together.
Guess what happened after that? Up they both popped, and followed me right back to where they were supposed to be. It worked! For some reason, it hadn’t crossed my mind that simply praying with the kids would help them to trust Jesus in a situation! I wonder why we don’t expect cool stories like this from our preschool kids very often. Preschoolers are amazing. Their faith is simple, and they are so much more capable than we usually take the time to realize.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed my preschoolers are amazing at since then:
- Their obedience makes them really great at learning new things, and at allowing what they learn to help them grow.
- They know how to use good questions to help them learn.
- They are capable of learning about Jesus, and following Him where they are at right now, at this moment.
- They are capable of having God’s love in their hearts, and are capable of sharing it with all those around them in amazing ways.
- They are great at being genuine. They are always themselves, no matter where or who they are with, which allows others to know how to help them well.
What would you add? What awesome qualities have you noticed from the stories of preschool kids you know? Let’s compile our stories and allow ourselves to invest better in kids by highlighting how capable they really are. After all, we can’t truly be present for our group until we make it personal by putting ourselves in the shoes of the kids we lead.
By Marissa Walter
SGL and Children’s Ministry Director at Sandy Lake Wesleyan Church in Sandy Lake, PA