Expectations can be exhausting. Today, when I watched the SIUMC kids get through 4 minutes of song without actually singing, I withered on the chair as I held the manila paper with the lyrics. Last Sunday, we agreed to sing this; the kids were excited, Brent was supposed to have a solo on the first part, but he was nowhere during the morning. On top of that, only Ian seemed to remember the song.
To be honest, I was cold and frustrated. I mean, just five minutes before their part, the older kids were running about during Praise & Worship, which means they were in high energy. Oddly, this didn’t show in their performance.
It somehow cracked the last straw. The SIUMC kids have been lip-syncing their way through the tracks in the dullest of dull and today, it was most noticeable. I cannot justify it. We can’t go on this way.
I asked myself that during Sunday School when the kids flew out of the room and only Avril, who thankfully was sensitive, stayed by my side and nudged me what’s next. What’s next? Here’s Ian, asking me, “Maglaro na lang tayo.” There’s Brent on his phone. There’s Mico with his Rubiks Cube. I just did all I could to make Sunday School as entertaining as possible, put my excited self on, and this still drains me. No matter what I say, these kids will end up doing what they want to do. And look, I don’t have a lot of battery. I’m not going to run out and chase the others back into this room since these older folks would not listen to me.
Truly, in that moment, I was ready to hand them over to someone else’s care.
But I snapped. There’s a lesson to be finished. And because these kids are itching to do something, and I did prepare something, why not go on? And we went on. Craft keeps them busy. Craft keeps them creative. And frankly, even though the crayons I bought them are broken and soggy, they’re the best companions we’ve got.
Sunday School finished. It’s time to move on to another day.
We had this discussion in the car on the way home. The kids are the lifeblood of the church. They shouldn’t be like that.
But what could I do? I did all I could. I bought them materials. Searched for their songs. I started my Spotify subscription just for them. I prepare their Sunday School lessons even if there was no curriculum. Now, before you tell me, I know. It’s not right for me to tell them what I did for them. It’s just that I want it to be known I did not do nothing.
I put an effort to this. It may not be 100%, but I was there, present. I was there for the kids.
“Don’t be the one who starts something and then hands it over to someone else when everything becomes difficult.”
My mom went off a few blocks away from our home. Somehow, it was a slap. Earlier this year, I also started something and well, things didn’t go right. I could fall into the pits of self-blame. Awakenings was that one thing that was so pure and beautiful but, along the way, it turned to something else.
For the record, I did not drop it. I was waiting for communication. I hoped 20-year-olds and above could properly do that, given that I am their ate, someone they can easily talk to. I did not want to check up on them because they told me they’d let me know when they need me. We had work outlined. We had a timeline.
Just to tell you, I’m writing things so I can clear my headspace and probably give way to better things that need to be thought.
I’m the person who start a lot of things. But, being a writer, when the previous paragraph won’t lead to a cohesive next, I edit it. I erase it. That’s my language. I am keen to restarting things to get a better flow. Flow is important to me. Flow is what makes the cadence. Flow is what makes the reading experience.
But, when it comes to the kids, I never edited. I was there. When Ate Grace left the TempleKids, I, who was virtually an incapable volunteer, kept the kids singing every Sunday, practiced them at home, made sure we still do Junior Worship, and so on. I. Was. There. I was there until someone finally paid attention and took the ministry off my hands, and into a flourishing opportunity for other adults to teach and supervise them.
This time, I will also say the same thing: I will be there. For no matter what happens, the kids will have my heart. I will always go to them. But this, this kind of routine, we can’t continue any longer.
I am praying that God will give me a breakthrough. The hurt always happens before the miracle. And for these kids, all I want is for them to have a buoyant, life-changing experience in Sunday School. This is their faith’s foundation. This is what they’re going to hold on in the test of time.
Perhaps I am doing things wrong. Perhaps I am looking at things the other way. I don’t really know.