His memories of this place were as vague as he chose them to be, but this day, this man relived this one a little longer.
He sat on a wooden horse 35 years ago and watched his mother bury her face in her hands as his father walked away. He never saw the man again.
His thoughts were interrupted by the laughter of his 2 children going around on their wooden horses.
He clutched his wife’s hand a little harder and waved at his children, determined to give them different memories.
Thanks for taking the time to read this 1-minute fictional piece I wrote a couple of years ago. You may have had more than your share of painful memories as a child. You do not have to repeat them. Even if you did repeat them you can commit to break out of the cycle. The greatest security blanket you can give your children is you.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children?
First of all, thanks for visiting my website. I have been writing on my blog here for the past couple of years, and at least 3 times a week for that past year. For the most part, I have been sharing about my interests in mobile photography and sharing micro-fiction stories and poems. As I have been posting over the past few weeks, my heart has moved towards writing about what I have done for the past 3 decades; and that is working with children. I realize more than anything else that I am a voice from the world 5 foot and under.
I have decided that the majority of content on this blog will shift to benefit anyone who works with or raises young children: parents, grandparents, step-parents, foster parents, teachers, coaches, social workers, pediatricians, dentists, therapists, Sunday School teachers, etc. If you are any of those listed and want to hear another voice from the world 5-foot and under, then keep following and give me the opportunity to share my experiences and perspective.
Although I do not consider myself the highest authority on the subject of children, I have worked with children for 30 years and been a parent for over 20, so at least I can share with you some mistakes and learnings. Yes, I am still learning. And yes, I am a preacher, and preachers preach. Be forewarned, I might start singing, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” because He does!
About 3 times during the week on the blog, I will be sharing thoughts that I believe will make you smile, nod your head, chuckle and even shed a few tears. Since I still love writing what I call 1-minute fiction, I might squeeze in one every now and then. I am working on publishing some works, and you will get to see the process. I hope you join in and enjoy the journey with me by tapping the “Subscribe” button at the top of this page. Cheers!
As I usually do as the supervisor of the children’s department of my church, I stood watch in the lobby as the building doors opened for the parents to drop off their children. I greeted as many kids and parents as I could in the span of about 10 minutes before a 4-year old girl’s voice called out to me. She handed me a note and said, “I wrote it myself. It’s for you.”
I studied the note and saw how carefully she drew her pictures and write her newly acquired written language. I couldn’t decipher her preschool code, but I saw that she knew how to spell her name. As I focused on this text, this little person said, “I know how to spell my name.” The note was signed, “Ava.”
I kept the note as a reminder that I have influence over a young and impressionable person’s life. I read somewhere that said that even the most introverted of folks will influence about 10,000 people in their lifetime. I am asking myself the same question I am asking you, “What are you doing about it?”
Why did I get out of the game so quickly? I just stood there like a tree. I should have jumped to my right, but Adrian was looking right at me and I froze. He kicked the ball right at me, and I was an easy target. Callie is watching this game. Tommy said that she likes me. This time I am going to stay in the game for a long time. Someone get out now. I’m next. This time I won’t get out. Adrian can’t be the best in the game every time. I hope the bell doesn’t ring. Not yet. Not yet.
I went to Summer Camp again. I didn’t have the responsibility of running camp, so I spent some time studying behaviors of children a little more closely and here are a few of my observations.
- Kids love to have fun. Fun, fun, and more fun. Eat, yes. Sleep when necessary. Fun is the number one factor.
- Hygiene is just not going to happen by choice for 90% of boys. It’s just not.
- Vegetables are good for you. I worked the food line at almost every meal. By Day 3 the kids that complained of stomach aches were not the salad-and-vegetable eaters. Teach your kids to eat their veggies.
Not a serious list, I know. Funny thing is that I don’t think that these observations would change much if my subjects were adults.
I get to work with kids as a children’s pastor at the church I’ve attended for over 20 years. I have accumulated a few stories about little people doing things that make me crack up and shake my head at same time.
While I was doing my churchy duties supervising the children’s department on a Sunday night not too long ago, Little Joel had been happily playing basketball for a while in the Kindergarten classroom until he had the sudden revelation that he had to use the restroom badly.
He did the pee-pee dance in front of his teacher to prove his sincerity and urgency. The teacher was so convinced that she personally escorted him to the restroom with his basketball in hand. However, Joel had nowhere to place his orange sphere that made him so happy just minutes ago. But inside this tiled, dimly lit, and cold place there happened to be the perfect place to hold his prized object.
Check out my story on Steller too: https://steller.co/s/4dWAXH7wfvG
One of the things I get to do is work with kids. It’s a full-time gig plus. The job as a children’s programming director at a church requires long hours, weekends, and I am not likely going to become a millionaire from this line of work. However, it is a ton of fun. Sharing life and words of life to young people is fulfilling.
One of my favorite things to do is help create characters and create content to bring humor in our programs. In the picture above is our facilities project guru, Ruben. After brainstorming with him about a character to introduce at a special event, Ruben landed on being a luchador. He took time on his day off to dress up as El Gran Queso and talk to the kids.
I’m still working on developing his character and writing skits, so we can bring him back. The best part of the job is seeing the reaction from the children. Maybe I should write a story about The Big Cheese.
I’m a children’s pastor for a non-denominational church in Southern California. If you are in the business of working with children or do ministry and into leadership stuff read on…
After a great children’s conference it’s very easy to back into the grind of ministry and even forget to unpack all the “Aha!” moments and apply practical learnings into what we do. I am working on being more strategic with how I do kidmin at my church with my team. With that here are some golden nuggets I got from CPC 14:
- Sometimes, you don’t need more resources. You just need to remember what God has done in the past.
- When you do teach, stay focused on one theme. Stick to it!
- Don’t recruit out of need because that’s not what motivates people. Vision does.
- Never underestimate the value of training.
- Keep telling stories to engage your children but don’t be afraid to teach a principle that cannot be explained through a bible story.
- Kids will not believe you if you don’t have fun with them.
- It’s not about behavior conforming . It’s about hearts transforming.
I have worked with elementary-aged children for over 25 years, so working with 2 and 3 year olds who are not my biological children is somewhat of a culture shock. I started in children’s ministry in 1992 in the Elementary Department, and except for a few times out of the year, I have stuck with this age group. Last year, my role in my church changed. Now, one of my main roles is oversight of the Toddler Department. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned from toddlers and their world:
Fart jokes don’t work. Fart sounds sometimes do.
Bubbles are magical. They are.
If it can fit in your mouth, it is highly likely it will go there.
Veggie Tales still rule and probably will forever.
Tight hipster jeans have no place in this world.
Mucous. It’s all over the place.
If all else fails, just cry. That’s what they do.
I am learning kidmin all over again with these little people. They make me sweat, but every happy face sticker they put on my pant leg and every squeeze of my hand is worth a million bucks.