You know how kids like to ask “why?” a lot? Sometimes they do it just to try and get on other peoples nerves.
Kid: “Why is the sky blue?”
Adult: “That’s just how it is.”
Adult: “Because it is.”
Adult: “Don’t ask why.”
Adult: “Because I said so.”
Adult: “Because it’s annoying.”
Adult: “Because it just is.”
So today two of the fourth-grade girls were doing this to me. However, this one was a bit interesting.
Kids: “Do you have a girlfriend?”
Me: “Because God doesn’t want me to.”
Me: “Because God wants me to focus on Him right now.”
Me: “Because He has a lot of work for me to do right now and He’s growing me and teaching me new things.”
Me: “So I can better serve Him.”
Me: “Because God saved me and now I seek to serve Him.”
Me: “Because He loves me, and He said that those who love Him will obey his commands, and one of his commands is to serve Him.”
Me: “So that other people who don’t know about Jesus can learn about Him.”
Me: “So that they can be saved and go to heaven.”
Me: “Because God loves us so much he gave his only Son to die for us, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Me: “Because he loves us.”
Me: “I don’t know. He just does.”
I’d say it went rather well. A good Bible lesson came out of it. This is just an example of how God gives us so many opportunities to share our faith with those we serve.
There was a second grade boy who we’ll call “Ty.” He was a nice kid. Quiet, and got along well with most of the other kids.
One day during study hall, the kids were being loud. I told them that the next person I have to ask to be quiet would get put in time-out during play time.
Ty was talking, so I told him he has time-out.
I was helping a student with their homework when Alice came up to me.
“Ty’s crying,” she said.
“Ty’s a good boy,” added Mary Ann.
Ty, who usually doesn’t get in trouble, was talking at the wrong time. I could tell he felt really bad about it. The girls were defending him to me, as if they were the defense attorneys, and I was the judge.
The sentence I gave him was light; he didn’t have to stay in time-out for very long.
You know, they say nice guys finish last. But when you’re a nice guy, the nice girls stick up for you.
One day the kids were sitting around me during study hall.
“Mr. Robert,” said Alice. “You’re so nice. Isn’t he nice? You’re the nicest leader.” she said to the other girls.
“Yeah, you’re SOOO nice,” said Mary Ann. The other girls agreed.
“I’m not nice,” I said.
“Yes you are!” said Mary Ann, laughing as if it was silly for me to even claim not to be nice.
“I’m not supposed to be nice to you kids. I’m supposed to be mean. It’s part of my job. My boss tells me to be mean.”
“…Really!?” said Mary Ann.
Yes, it’s true. My boss tells us to be mean to the kids. Not abusively mean or anything, but the point is he doesn’t want us to be so nice to them that they don’t listen to us or take us seriously. We’re there to be their leader, not their friend.
It’s a fine line trying to be an authority figure to kids, while at the same time not being overly-harsh on them. But the more you work with kids, the better you get at it.
I think Mary Ann got the picture, because when the other girls were still talking about me being nice, Mary Ann warned them. “Don’t tell him he’s nice! If you tell him he’s nice, he has to be meaner to us!”
“Really!?” said the other girls.
“Yeah! His boss said he has to be mean!” said Mary Ann.
A little later, Mary Ann came up to me and handed me a note. It said, “You are very mean.”
“Thanks, Mary Ann,” I said. She smiled.
“Isn’t he mean?” she said to the other girls.
“Yeah,” said Alice. “He’s SOOO mean.”
At work we have a ball closet where we keep the playground equipment. There was a second-grader who we’ll call “DJ.” He’s a unique kid with a great imagination.
“Woah,” said DJ when he saw the closet. “What’s this!?” he said, as if he were gazing into some cool, mystical place. He hopped inside, and looked around in awe.
“It’s a magic closet,” I said.
“REALLY!?” he asked.
“No,” said my coworker. “Now get out of the closet.”
One day Mary Ann, DJ, and another second grader had accompanied me to the ball closet as I returned the equipment. They were again fascinated by this simple closet. They hopped in, exploring it as if it were some sort of hidden cave holding long lost treasures.
“I want to see how dark it is inside the closet with the door closed!” said Mary Ann.
“Yeah!” added DJ.
“Can you shut the door on us?” they asked.
“Yeah! Shut the door! Shut the door!”
I shut the door on them.
“Okay. Bye guys. See you tomorrow,” I said, pretending as if I were leaving them in there.
“Woah, it’s dark in here,” they said. “Okay. You can open the door now.”
I remained silent, hoping to trick them into thinking that I left them stuck in there. I waited a little while.
“Mr. Robert, you can open the door now,” they said from inside the closet.
I waited silently.
“Mr. Robert, we know you’re there.”
I couldn’t fool them. They know I would never leave them. Nevertheless, I think they were glad when I opened the door for them. As I held the door for the kids Mary Ann hopped out, and hugged me from behind the way she so often does.
What looks like a simple, ordinary closet to adults, looks like a fascinating place to kids.
What adults see:
What kids see: