Last night, I took my class of 5th/6th grade girls over to McDonald’s. It was their request for our end of the summer party. The next two weeks we will go into our youth ministry to give them a sneak peek of what they can expect if they move up. Our church offers a chance for the 5th graders going into 6th grade to stay in Children’s Ministry for another year if they don’t feel ready to move up. Most of my girls will be staying in the class next year, but I believe in them making educated decisions. I don’t want them to stay in my classroom because of a fear of the unknown. Going into Fusion (our youth ministry) gives them a taste of what to expect in the future as well as I chance to make a decision based on experience. It’s fun for me to spend two weeks enjoying the worship and not having to prep a lesson, make a snack, and prepare a craft and game. It’s a little bit of a rest bit before another class moves up. Beginning in September, the 4th graders will become my 5th graders.
Our trip to McDonald’s was a hit! I got so many “thank yous” from the class. It was crazy! I had no idea that going to McDonald’s would unlock their hearts and speak so much love to them! After ordering 8 ice cream cones, we took our seats to chat, munch and generally enjoy each others company. Once all the ice cream cones had been consumed, we headed outside so they could play on the play toy. It wasn’t until we were leaving that I noticed the sign saying they were too tall to be in there. Oops! There were shrieks of delight as they climbed, slid, and spun. It was so much fun to listen to them being big kids. They just let go and were 5 years old all over again! These almost teenagers are still little girls at heart. It was sweet. At one point I needed to quiet their screams for fear of being kicked of the establishment. Can you imagine a church group getting kicked out for being too rowdy? I had to remind them who we were representing and how our actions needed to be respectful. They toned it down after that and we weren’t escorted off the property. Sounds like a “win” to me!
Each class is so special and I bond with each every year. It’s hard teaching the oldest age range because they will all soon be too old to stay in children’s ministry. They will all soon be youth students and moving on. It’s a hard cycle that I live in. I’m blessed by the long term relationships I share with many students even after they leave my classroom. I want to be a teacher of God’s Word first of all and a friend and confidant next. I want these girls to know that they can come to me whenever with whatever. I’m here for them. That is one of the main reasons I have a sleepover at my house every spring. I want them to see that I like hanging out with them beyond church. I want them to feel invited and welcomed in my life outside of the classroom. I don’t do this because I have. I do this because I want to. I do this because they are worth it. I do this because Jesus loved the children and I think there is nothing better I can with my life then love them, just like he did. I pray that I can be a leader worth following so as I follow Christ with my actions they see him in me and want to come along for the journey as well.