Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday School Teacher

Somehow I have tricked the amazing community of Grace. For some reason they want me to teach their kids about God and love and the mysteries of the universe. I began my first day as a Sunday School teacher today.

Ah, who am I kidding? I bet they don't expect miracles from me. Just love. And snacks. And reading stories and singing songs and creating things with Play-doh. I can handle that.

And because the other two teachers in our class are full of awesomesauce, and the kiddos are full of curiosity, it was a wondrous day.

I understand why people give their time to help others. The reciprocal good feelings. I feel good when I help you because it makes you feel good. This morning in Sunday School I spent an hour not thinking about my worries. Not once during my time with these gracious teachers and beautiful students did I think about war or disease or abuse or sickness. My mind was cleared of its catastrophes and calmed by seven small children sitting in a circle singing together, "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!"

I understand why the atheist Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the masses. In my experience, religion is the Clonazepam of the anxious.

I like working with kids because they are so wise and not judgy. They like to test limits, and so do I, because however else is progress possible?

I'm excited to see what happens.

Here are some quotes I found today that I appreciate as I grow into this role of teacher:

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 
― Madeleine L'Engle

“It's never too late to have a happy childhood.” 
― Tom RobbinsStill Life with Woodpecker

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” 
― Margaret Mead

"Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me. ” 
― Fred Rogers

" We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there.” 
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Rebel children, I urge you, fight the turgid slick of conformity with which they seek to smother your glory.” 
 Russell Brand

"One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” 
― Jane Goodall

"A child whose life is full of the threat and fear of punishment is locked into babyhood. There is no way for him to grow up, to learn to take responsibility for his life and acts. Most important of all, we should not assume that having to yield to the threat of our superior force is good for the child's character. It is never good for anyone's character.” 
 John Holt

"When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child's hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener.” 
― Paula Fox

"We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions -- if they have any -- and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.” 
 John Holt

"If our children are unable to voice what they mean, no one will know how they feel. If they can’t imagine a different world, they are stumbling through a darkness made all the more sinister by its lack of reference points. For a young person growing up in America’s alienated neighborhoods, there can be no greater empowerment than to dare to speak from the heart — and then to discover that one is not alone in ones feelings.” 
― Rita Dove