Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Chaos and My Teachable Moment



... And Ashton's meltdown began.

We were frosting cookies for the nightshift at the police station tonight. We were doing this as a thank you for all their amazing work keeping us safe.(Which means a lot in our town.)  Ashton had used his knife once as a sword. I gave him a warning "It will be taken away if you use it as a sword again." 5 seconds later out came to sword and I became the bad guy.

Working with kids was never something I’ve been drawn toward. I had some horrible babysitting experiences as a kid that traumatized me. Kids were always the aliens I never wanted to deal with after that. But this job has thrust me into that arena, as I’m over all the education of the church from nursery to adults. More than once I’ve doubted my skill, but I never doubt what God is doing. I try my best to just step back and let he Holy Spirit do his thing, because the good Lord knows I don’t have a clue what to do with kids.

But tonight have a 7-yr. old boy’s snot on my shirt and I am glad for that.

After Ashton’s meltdown of tears began, I asked Gayle to watch the class as they continued frosting their cookies and I took Ashton into the hallway and asked him to talk to me. His tears were more than just me taking away his sword. He had “the worst day ever’” because all of his friends made fun of him (expect Evan, the son of a couple in my small group) and because he had to quit baseball. “And all I wanted to do was frost cookies for the police offers!” he wailed.

He grabbed onto me and cried and cried. I hugged him back and did my best to sooth his tears. Once he seemed to get most of it out, I said some things that I hoped were comforting. Then I took his hands, looked him in the eye and said that he should talk to his mom after we were done about how he was feeling and that even though he couldn’t frost any cookies, he could eat one just like everyone else. Then we had a game to play.
When we returned, Seth and Evan had frosted his cookie to eat, and frosted his two cookies to give to the police officers. I could not have been more moved by their kindness.

After the game, two police officers came to talk to the kids about what they do and how it’s important they do their job well. They showed the kids a police car which was the “coolest thing ever”. The chaos of frosting cookies and having the police officer there made the night a little nutty! The kids went crazy with all the special fun. (This was not a normal Wednesday night…) All I could do was smile and be thankful for that.

Tonight’s bible lesson was on Cain and Abel, and how God cursed Cain for killing his brother. The lesson was “God cares what we do.” I saw that in action from some very active and precocious young boys who sometimes make me want to pull my hair out. The frosted cookies were to help us live out the lesson, but those boys were already living it out with Ashton. It took everything in me to not let Ashton frost cookies because I knew that’s what he wanted. Crying kids break my heart.

After the night was done, I talked to Ashton’s mom and she said they had indeed had a rough day. (It’s tough to be 7!) I then pulled Evan and his mom aside and told him how proud I was that he was Ashton’s only friend that didn’t make fun of him.

I got a whole lot of grace in the midst of some crazy chaos. Not the kind of grace you need when you screw up, but the kind of grace you need when you doubt everything about yourself and God reminds you: “I got this.”