Monday, January 5, 2009

There are 56 children staring at me. What do I do?

Image courtesy creative commons license by Milton CJ, Norway 9/2007

There are 56 children staring at me. What do I do?

I hope this isn't blasphemous to relate the franchise McDonald's to the church. Please, bare with me.
We know that the key to a franchise is everything the same. Ray Kroc, one of the founders of McDonald's has said, "We have found out... that we cannot trust some people who are nonconformists. We will make conformists out of them in a hurry... The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization." From Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser p.5

Point Sofia? Really? Are you getting there? Yes! I love our church! We trust explicitly in our church, because it is Christ's church. But He in return trusts us. A church of laymen. How very exceptional. Which brings me to my question...
There are 56 children staring at me. What do I do?
~ I guess I should mention that it's sharing time. They've already been sitting for an hour. And 1 kid is picking his nose and wiping it under his chair. ~
1. Don't panic. Really. Don't panic. They feed off fear. Besides, you've prayed at least 3 times about the lesson you prepared on Tuesday... God is with you!! Thank you Alma 26:12. (Did you notice how I ever so subtlety weaved in the importance of you praying over the lesson multiple times and preparing it in a timely manner - not the night before. Cough. Cough.)

2. Be enthusiastic. I'm not saying bounce off the wall and shake a tambourine... they feed off hyperactivity. But the gospel is exciting! Find a balance between enthusiasm and peacefulness where the spirit can be felt.

3. Let the children know YOU EXPECT THEM TO PLEASE RAISE THEIR HANDS. If you are in a primary with 5 or more children, then they need to raise their hand. They feed off chaos. State: I only call on those raising their hand. Or. God's house is a house of order, we raise our hands to be respectful of others, Heavenly Father and His house. Or. Thank you so much for remembering to raise your hand! Or. I will call on Lila because she is raising her hand so reverently. Yes, kids get excited and you don't want to kill their happiness... but you need to create an environment where the spirit can be felt. (Again, I might be too suave... but did you notice how I weaved in lots of pleases and thank you's... if you want manners, you've got to give manners!)

4. ~ Teach. Don't talk at them. Teach. Let the children SHARE their ideas. Teach. Have you lost them... are there now 4 nose pickers wiping on the chairs? Regroup. Change. Sing a song. Stretch. Back down to 1 picker? Continue and Teach. ~ They feed off boredom. Long thought I couldn't figure out how to condense. My apologies. I have found some people get up there and kind of just stand, look at their paper, shuffle their feet, clear their throat, say "I lost my place. Hold on" 3 minutes later.... more standing. Be bold. Be brave. Teach the lesson. Confidence. God has called you and He loves you.

5. Evaluate the lesson afterwards. What worked? What didn't work? And most importantly, did you feel the spirit and were the children given the opportunity to come closer to Christ? In the primary outline they provide a sharing time planning sheet... at the end is... drum roll please.... a spot for "Evaluation: Did we accomplish what we wanted to have happen? How could we improve?" We are our own worst critics, so make sure you give yourself at least 4 positive thoughts on what went right.. before calling the Young Men's President for a service project: scraping off green crusties for those primary room chairs.Really. You are fantastic. The lesson probably went spectacular!!

I hope that answers the question. It can all be so overwhelming. But Jesus Christ lives. We aren't all wearing polos, ghastly visors (Sorry. I really have a problem with visors. They are discriminatory towards bald people.) and flipping burgers... Cookie cutter models of an organization that is cautiously eyeing us from the corner. We are individuals whom the Lord has suffered so greatly for. Individuals whom He trusts. I'll end with truth. Glorious and hopeful truth. D&C 6: 32-37

" 32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.
33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
37 Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen. "

No comments :