A few weeks back I was talking with a friend at church about signing Eli up for t-ball and somehow we started talking about the team mom. I mentioned that no one had even asked me about it and we laughed about my experience the day of sign-ups and that they had probably written in red sharpie marker "NOT TEAM MOM MATERIAL". And it's the truth, y'all. I don't have what it takes.
The thing about it, is that all my life I expected to be team mom material. Room mom material. President of the PTO. PTA? See how much I stink? I can't remember what it's called now. Anyway, I've probably mentioned that I am totally different as a mom than I expected to be. I earnestly believed I would be the mom whose children are immaculate with matching smocked dresses and big bows. I would read 5 books before bed everynight and we would have picnics in big open fields and then frolic in flowers. Alas, it hasn't *quite* worked out that way. Sarah was born with her own fashion sense and today, I totally let her wear a sweater that clashed with her t-shirt and a jean skirt over brown leggings. Eli's neck is always dirty. Always. Kate usually has food on her face and crazy hair and you might catch her wearing princess heels at inappropriate times.
In addition to my less than stellar performance with my own children, I've never really felt like I had a gift for working with kids. You know how some people just know all the best silly songs and are happiest being a human jungle gym? I have another confession. I don't like crafts. They're messy. And require a level of creativity I wasn't blessed with.
I'm confessing these things after a long Wednesday. On Wednesdays I spend 5 hours straight with other people's kids between the ages of 2 and 8. I spend that time teaching them dance and Bible lessons. Or trying to. I also spend a good portion of it saying "Let's use our inside voices" and "Please line up" and "Sit down!" Teaching a dance class with 2 and 3 year olds gives a whole new meaning to my "herding of the cats" experience and I won't lie, the kids at church about push me over the edge. I know, that is too honest. You have to understand that the neighborhood we live and minister in brings in some kids who have some rough home lives and out of 7 kids in my class tonight I know the parents of 3 of them. (And one of those is Eli.) Most of our kids recieve no dicipline or direction at home. I know that sounds like a harsh judgment, but if you've worked with kids you know what I'm talking about. There is a difference between a hyper kid or kids misbehaving every once in a while and kids who have serious behavioral issues. We have quite a few of those. I won't lie, by the time I get to church on Wednesday nights, I'm already exhausted. I often encounter kids who get up and leave the room during class or tell me everything I do "sucks" or that they are bored. They are not used to following rules at all and it makes for a rough time.
Y'all, I have to pray so hard. I have to constantly pray that God will show me the best way to work with these kids. I have to pray for strength and energy. I have to pray that I will not physically harm someone else's child. JUST KIDDING! Kind of. Mostly I have to pray that God will continue to burden my heart for these kids who really need someone in their life to be burdened over them. To love on them in a way they've never been loved on. To provide structure and discipline, even if it is for just an hour a week.
Tonight, I was extra tired. It rained today and the kids didn't get recess at school and I could tell by how wild the girls were at dance. I was already dreading church. If my dance girls were that hyper I knew it would be a long night with the church kids. It actually went better than expected, but I was anxious to get home and SIT DOWN in some peace and quiet! Of course my kids had gotten the memo that today was "Act crazy" day and took an extra long time to get to bed. Eli was up for the 15th time when he walked over, gave me a hug and said, "I like how you teach my class at church." *wipes tear*
Oh my. I will be teaching his class until he is 25 now. :) As I took in that sweet moment (yes, I realize he was probably just stalling, but sometimes you have to take what you can get), I thought about how frustrated I get with myself because I feel so lacking as I teacher. You see, I have a slight streak of perfectionism and it drives me crazy that I am so not perfect. I often find myself replaying things in my mind that I should have done different or situations I should have handled differently. But do you know what I feel like God is teaching me? I feel like He is teaching me that more than a teacher or a team mom, kids need someone to care about them. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that's an excuse to not prepare or actually teach, I just am beginning to realize that kids are hungry for people to accept them and love on them. To care enough to offer hugs and encouragement and also care enough to be firm and set rules and boundaries for them. You don't have to be a teacher or a mom. Just someone who believes what we learned in class tonight.
"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made"
Our kids need to know this!!!