Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday School

I teach the junior Sunday school class at church, and I don't know what was in the drinking water 9 to 11 years ago, but it is a huge class, with 17 kids enrolled, and an unusual number of them are very talkative and bouncy.

(Yes, Mennonite kids can be rambunctious.)

So, some Sundays it's like keeping a bunch of ping-pong balls underwater at once, but I'm slowly learning what it takes to keep their attention.

Last Sunday the lesson was about Isaac and his mean neighbors, the Philistines, who kept taking over his wells and using them for themselves or filling them with dirt. One boy said he would have pitched a grenade at them, but someone else made the insightful comment that it would have been less work for Isaac to fight off the Philistines than to keep moving off and digging another well.

But of course, that's what Isaac kept doing, and eventually the Philistine leader came to him with his hat in his hand to make peace, and don't we all wish our enemies would do this.

I sensed that this bunch needed more instruction on not being Philistines to each other than on being peacemakers like Isaac, so we talked about both, and also about that when you're a kid and someone is being mean to you, you can and should ask an adult for help.

I was confident they had all learned the basics of the lesson.

Just before the final bell rang I asked if any of them had stories to tell of when they were mean to someone and they made peace, or vice versa.

"Sam" raised his hand. "I can tell you about a time I got revenge," he said with a delighted grin. "My brother shot me right here with a bb gun. So later when he was walking by I took a bb gun and went KAPOW! and hit him right there!

I opened my mouth and waited for some words to come out. "Sooo, did you do the right thing?"

He grinned. "Yeah!"

I shrieked, "Didn't you learn anything today??!!"


The second bell buzzed and they all scattered.

I am not too distraught, because I have had pastors tell me that at their ordination, their old Sunday school teachers came up to them and said, "I never would have seen this coming. Never."

Quote of the Day:
"Sometimes I'm an optimist and sometimes I'm a pessimist so I'm a poptimist."


  1. Hi Dorcas!

    I am writing for an article with the Oregon Daily Emerald and I was wondering if I could interview you. I am writing on the topic of thanksgiving and I was wondering if there were certain traditions that you partake in as a Mennonite that reflect the early traditions the Pilgrims took part in? I could not find an email or phone to contact you, but I would love to hear from you! You can email me at hdoyle@uoregon.edu

  2. I love the quote of the day!
    C in Ohio