Tonight marked the end of an era for me. After 5 long years of volunteering as a leader for the Sparks in our Awana program at church, I attended my last end of the year meeting. For next year I will be moving up to the youth group, as my eldest will be in middle school.
Which in Emme’s estimation, for her mother to volunteer in the youth group, is a fate worse than death. She is horrified.
And I couldn’t be more proud.
The last official night of Awana is marked with a tradition of which I am not fond. If a child finishes their Awana Sparks book for the year, their name is placed into a bucket. Two names are then drawn from each of our 4 groups. The lucky winners are then able to lob a whip cream pie into the faces of a leader of choice.
It is my belief, that after a year of volunteer service, a case of wine might be more appropriate. Or inappropriate, as it were. But deserved. Because nearly every Wednesday night after Awana, I slowly cruise by ABC Liquor, and ponder the brilliance of installing a drive-thru window.
I never stop.
I simply ponder.
I’m certain that a good deal of my issues have to do with the students that make up my Awana group. I asked some years ago to head a homeschool Awana group, because I thought it would be good for the homeschooling kids at our church to bond. This was a brilliant plan when it involved all of the older girl siblings in our group, as they were always quiet, well behaved, and sat neatly folded during counsel time. A couple of years passed, and the class evolved into the younger and considerably more rowdy siblings of those first homeschooled children. Including my own Jensen, who may have set the entire Awana program back a decade or so. In total, we had 11 children in our group, comprised of 9 boys and 2 really really wild little identical twin girls, who you might know as K & E. And interestingly, the majority of these children all belong to my best girlfriends, who are also leaders in Awana.
None of us are a fan of pie night. Oh we love pie. But not on our face. One girlfriend told her children that if they nailed her with a pie, they would be going to bed early for an entire week. Another girlfriend bribed her child in that if she didn’t chose her own mother, a trip to Starbucks after Awana was eminent.
I really had nothing to offer. Since Jensen is in his second year of Awana and has yet to even finish one book. In fact, I believe he’s still on “K” of SPARKS, in the first year book. Which just goes to highlight what an awesome Awana leader I am.
However, the other children in the class could easily choose me, and there is no amount of bribery that would work. I am what might be called the Gestapo Scripture Captain. As I make them really know the verse before I sign it off. I knew a few of them were gunning for me. So I came prepared, wearing yellow slicker overalls, a yellow rain coat with hood, and safety goggles.
One child in our class yelled at me when he saw me all suited up, “HEY, THAT’S NOT FAIR.” I shot back, “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT WOULD BE FAIR. A FOOT MASSAGE, THAT’S WHAT.”
Needless to say, I was not chosen by anyone. Pity. However, my partner in crime, Stacey, was nailed twice. Once by a kid in our group, and by a TOTALLY RANDOM KID NOT FROM OUR GROUP. I was proud of her. She took one, no two, for the team. And yes, she sported swimming goggles, a shower cap, and my extra yellow rain slicker that I carry for pie night emergencies.
I can’t say that I’ll have the opportunity to miss these children, because many of them are in my life on a daily basis. And I love them dearly. And all of their wild inappropriateness. And I have to say that my master plan for our homeschooling group worked, because these kids are VERY close knit. But I will miss serving with an amazing group of adult volunteers, that gladly give up their life every Wednesday night to help a new generation of children hide the Word of God in their hearts.
”People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”