Mouth of babes
Today I helped with the 3-year-old Sunday School class at our church. The only reason I did this was that my teenaged daughter — who adores and is adored by toddlers— wanted to help out and went to the head lady of the program. They allowed her to assist a teacher under the condition that I help too. So this morning Kate decided to skip her third-Sunday-of-the-month service obligation to attend her own youth group. Fine. I can handle a bunch of tiny hooligans, having had two of my own.
What my church calls "Sunday School" for this age group is actually a small, temporary penitentiary for a group of squirming little boys too spirited to sit nicely through a worship service. I suspect the main motivation for church attendance for the parents of these little twerps is to get a single hour's peace away from them. The wild card among them, the king of the tiny turds, is an exhausting child named Joshua.
Joshua is obviously very bright, but commands a huge amount of negative attention. After an hour that included breaking up several of Joshua's fights, wiping Joshua's dripping nose, arranging a little intervention with Joshua's parents who had to be summoned, diverting attention from Joshua's mantra, "tee-tee-poop-poop-butt-fart-fart-fart" and finally, pretending not to notice Joshua pleasuring himself on the corner of the Little Tykes work bench in a trance Paul Feig would call "the rope feeling," Joshua joined the little prayer circle on the floor. Five minutes before the end of class, after running out of victims to bully and finding no new audiences for his PG-13 material, he plopped into my lap to pray.
He squeezed his eyes closed and clasped his grubby little hands together.
"Dear Jesus, " he whined in a voice full of sweetness.
Aw, I thought. He leaned his head of curls against my sweater.
"Dear Jesus," he went on, "Pleeeeze help my sister Hannah."
How could it be that the little deliquent was so altruistic?
"Please help Hannah as she battles... the bad bugs... in her hair."
Now it's my turn to pray.