Sunday, August 1, 2010

Kindness

photo from lexington.ma.us

My typically sweet Sunday School class full of five and six-year-olds were not being their usual selves today.

It started in the first hour, when we meet with all of the other kids aged 8 and under.

One had to go to the bathroom about every 7 minutes.
One could not keep her hands to herself.
One continuously turned to glare at me.
One would not stop eating her strawberry-flavored chapstick.
One could not refrain from busting out some crazy dance moves every time we sang a song.
Two would not stop kissing each other on the mouth.
The rest were simply restless.

By the time we finally made it to our classroom for our second hour together it was obvious that not much listening would be happening today. I mentally made a change of plans on how to present my lesson - incorporating plenty of role playing, action songs and class participation.

By the time I got the 3 boys from behind the door and the 2 kids who were hiding beneath a chair and table to their seats, my Hubba started kicking the air vent on the door. I nicely asked him to take a seat and he answered my request by kicking the vent again. I sat him in the hallway and again tried to begin class.

The lesson was about being kind. As I began to ask different kids to help me act out the parable of the Good Samaritan I noticed that one of my little six-year-olds was plugging her ears and squeezing her eyes shut. I tried to ignore her antics... until she began softly humming. When she refused to stop I took her to one of the adult leaders over the primary classes and had them take her to her mother. I hate resorting to this tactic but some days it is the only thing I can do to remain sane.

Three girls would not stop chatting. Two others would not stop kicking each others' chairs. My quietest class member looked as if she might start to cry. I was at the end of my rope. Nothing was working!! I had the thought that maybe if I tried to be kind instead of acting frustrated they would get the message. I started to whisper a story which came to mind. The class eventually became silent in order to hear my words.

I told them of a time when I was just older than their age, a time when I was very self-conscious and unsure of myself. There were many reasons for this, but the most obvious was my teeth. I explained to them that my teeth sort of made me look like a beaver and that one particular boy at church would always tease me about my teeth and make me want to cry. Then I asked them, "Was that a kind thing for him to do?" "NO!" they all shouted in unison.

And before I could finish my story, they all took turns defending my past buck-toothed self.

"That kid was NOT NICE to you!"

"What a big meanie boy!"

"If I was a kid way back in time when you were a kid I would've been your friend and told that kid to KNOCK IT OFF, MISTER!!"

I thanked them all for their kindness and just then the girl who was taken to her mom returned. She handed me a note and sat down in her seat. The note read:

Deir techor,

I em sorwee
that I was
anoring you
You are the Best
techor

As I was handing out a coloring page my little Hubba re-joined us as well. Apparently he had gotten bored with sitting in the hallway and made his way to the library where he asked someone to help him write a note for me which simply said:

I Love You!

Hubba

Well, since the lesson was on kindness (and because I am easily manipulated) I let him come sit with the class for the last few minutes.

After the closing prayer was said each class member gave me the customary high-five or hug along with their own added words which varied from thank you to I love you, teach-o to sorry we were kind of bad.

Here was my sweet class. I knew they would show up eventually.

8 comments:

Corine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anaise said...

Oh how we all need a little more kindness!

Sweet children.
Sweet teacher.
Sweet story.

Shannon said...

Adorable. I have a feeling that Hubba will one day be a Joey in Mr. Z's class!

Richard & Natalie said...

This post is a testament that kindness truly begins with me.

I'm glad your real class showed up eventually.

Teachinfourth said...

Shannon - I have a feeling that he will, too. That is, unless I die or get out of the teaching profession altogether. However, I take each and every one Gerb's kids in my class.

Angela said...

Wow you are so good to hang in there. I was reading this thinking I would ask to be released before I was in tears and here you hung on and it turned out beautiful. Your a great teacher and Mother

Rachel said...

I'm with Angela! Everytime I sub in that class I always end up with several in tears and looking at the clock wondering who is going to outlast who!

You're a great woman Gerb!! I'm supposed to sub this group again in two weeks. Wanna sub for the sub? :D

lee woo said...

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. See the link below for more info.


#kindness
www.ufgop.org