For non-YAV reasons, it’s been a difficult few months.
I’ve lost two gradparents in three months, and this is the first time I’ve dealt with such a loss while significantly apart from my family.
That said, my housemates have been fantastic and supportive. I’m not much of a talker and more of a “let’s go do something fun so I don’t have to think about this” person (Enneagram 7 if that means anything to you). They’ll not only go along with that, but will also check in to make sure I know they’re there when I do need to talk. They’re the best.
Anyway, unless people keep dying, I plan to update my blog more frequently from here on. Let’s talk about kids.
I fit a lot of the stereotypes of someone who is a “kid-person.” I’m a generally friendly, young woman who is active in the church. I even have several years of experience working in nurseries and I babysat frequently to earn my spending money in high school.
I’m not a kid-person.
I’m not a monster. I think babies are cute. I can interact with young people without freaking out about it. I even can find them fun at times. That said, I can be perfectly happy going days or even weeks without interacting with children. I can see a baby and appreciate that it is cute and have no desire to hold it or long for one of my own. It’s not my calling.
So, when I was asked to manage Children’s Sunday School at Northminster this fall, I figured “Okay I’m working at a church. That’s a church thing to do. Sure.” What I didn’t realize was that babysitting and teaching are completely different fields. When you’re working with infants or babysitting toddlers, you basically do whatever keeps them safe and happy. With teaching, you’re somehow supposed to do that while also getting them to learn something. I do this 1 hour a week. I can’t even imagine doing it for 8 hours 5 days a week.
One of my housemates, Tacoma, has a real gift for this. She teaches a big class every Sunday and her kids love her and they learn all the stories and she has a real relationship with each kid. Admittedly, I started my program several months after she did, so I’ve had less time to build these relationships, but even then I doubt it will be as strong.
On our very first Sunday with the new curriculum, the story that we were supposed to discuss was Ruth. I adore Ruth. I wrote several papers on the gender politics of Ruth whe in college. So, with little prep, I walked in confident of my abilities to have a good discussion with the kids on the subject.
It did not go so well. I think by the end of the lesson they might all have known the names Ruth and Naomi and maybe something about moving houses. Shockingly, third-graders didn’t want to discuss how ancient political systems treated widows and unmarried women and no one wanted to sit and listen to this gorgeous recording of a choral setting of Ruth’s Song. They would much rather color on the whiteboard with markers that were NOT dry-erase.
Some readers might be laughing at me now, and that’s fair. I’m a little better at this now, I promise. This challenge is not one I expected when entering the year. I think I’m still learning more each week than I’m teaching, but they at least know the story by the time the lesson is over. I’m also learning more about the kids. In a nursery, kids have some personality but it’s not fully formed yet. You can treat them all pretty much the same and you’ll keep them busy and entertained for an hour. When you’re teaching, that is anything but the case. Some of them are super happy to show off their reading while some get really anxious if asked to speak. Some will completely tune out if they’re sitting still but light up and engage a lot if you can give them an activity where they move around. I’m learning so much about these kids each week and coming to the conclusion that, while a little nerve-wracking at times, they’re pretty cool folks. I’m actually looking forward to seeing them again each week.
I’ve still got a ways to go on fundraising. Please consider writing a check to:
National Capital Presbytery,
11300 Rockville Pike Suite 1009,
Rockville MD 20802.
Attn: Debbie Golden.
If you would prefer to give online, here is a link to donate to the DC YAV site. A small portion of the money donated online goes to the national Presbyterian Church, but the remainder of the money goes directly to the YAV site to support me and the other DC YAVs in our work in Washington. For checks, 100% of the money donated goes directly to the site.
I’ve been told to start posting pictures in my blog so it’ll show up when someone shares the link instead of a generic logo.I’ll start including 1-3 pics per blog post and they may or may not be relevant to the topic (in this case, they will not be since I won’t post pictures of kids without their parents consent). If you want to see more, please follow my instagram @Rookey_of_the_Year. If you’re not on instagram (looking at you Mom), you can view it on desktop. I post there more than in my blog.
Here, you’ll find me at a protest for the Green New Deal, in an NPR recording booth, and at the Northminster Holiday Party! We’ve been very busy!
Here’s a poem about a kid that makes me chuckle:
By Ellen Bass