Today I covered last minute for someone as a teacher to my 5-year-old's Sunday School class. The lesson was about forgiveness in the most basic form. It outlined that we should be like Jesus and follow his example by forgiving people. Even the ones that aren't sorry - essentially the ones that don't deserve it- because that's the way Jesus rolled and let's be like him. The lesson suggested I offer personal examples. I couldn't think of one at the moment, so I made something up.
"One day, boys and girls.........a friend of mine said something that made me feel angry," I leaned in and talked in what I like to refer to as my Snow White whisper. I only use it when I am teaching kids at church and my kids probably think I have multiple personality disorder as they watch me.
"Who was it?! A boy or a girl?" one kid shouted. He was not okay with vague. This threw me off, but I kept going with my nice voice.
"It was.......just a friend." I replied.
"Oh! I know who it was!" My son shouted. "It was DAD!" my son exclaimed to the class like he was winning the showcase showdown with his answer; his toothless grin proud as can be.
The class laughed. I laughed right along with them because let's be honest, this son of mine lives in the same house I do and I can't LIE to a room full of children. AT CHURCH.
"Well, it wasn't your dad I had in mind, but sometimes married people do say things that upset one another. And! What do we do when that happens?!" yeah you just wait for it and see how I turn that whole thing around and bring it all back to the J-Man.
"We forgive! Just like Jesus did!" I was pleased with my ability to smoothly carry on the lesson just as their collective attention span was about maxed out. Next we did interactive role playing. It was important to remind myself how simple the lesson needed to be.
One example I read was of two kids playing catch and another kid pushed the ball away. The mean kid wanted to play the next day and I had to ask the class what they should do in a situation like that. Naturally, forgiving the kid and not being revengy makes sense, but to suggest they keep playing with said child seemed wrong. I sort of felt like I needed more information in this sample. Is it a kid that's not great at communicating and has trouble using his words? Or is it a kid who has behavior issues because his mom does drugs and has no guidance at home? Because these lend to two very different types of teaching moments.
Oh, Bobby tends to punch my kid in the face every time he comes over, but we're working on teaching forgiveness. So, we see it as a learning opportunity to be like Christ. We keep letting him in and telling our son to forgive him and keep playing with him.
And by punch I totally mean being a jerkface. It can be interchangeable.
I just wanted to add a caveat to the lesson (can I?) that some friends are not actually good friends to have. While it's important to forgive, it's okay if some people are avoided. There are times personalities clash at every age. I don't think Jesus expects you to be a doormat. I think he's cool with the idea of you being kind and forgiving to all, but being wise with who you spend your free time with is also important.
It felt wierd to give a blanket statement about 'forgive and keep playing with the kid that's not being so nice to you', but by that point they were climbing under their chairs. I'm pretty sure the meat of the lesson had already been said enough times that part was less significant. I stuck with the manual and will keep those thoughts in my back pocket when the topic comes up with my own family.
Overthinking things may very well be reason #65 as to why I would not be a great Primary teacher.