Through a Parent's Eyes
by Jake Jacobson
Religious Education Committee Chairman
Sunday, September 6, 2009
9:15 a.m. - All is quiet. Ngoc is on duty in the nursery and already has one subscriber. A couple of teens are lounging around grumbling about a documentary they are supposed to watch.
9:30 a.m. - Ken is the lead teacher in the Kid’s Clubhouse this week. Poked my head in the door to see if he needs anything. He says he thinks he can handle “these two,” indicating two of his own children. He mentions that he went to the library this week to pull a book that was mentioned in the lesson plan. I herd the teens to their class.
9:33 a.m. - A tween wanders by looking for her teacher, Barb Rodman, who is at the moment doing the community service of firing up the giant coffee urn. Another tween arrives, and giggling, they head off to capture Barb.
10:00 a.m. - Another five or six kids have wandered into the Clubhouse and a couple more have been carried into the nursery. Kristy arrives to prepare for more nursery customers. Now the tweens reappear, still giggling. They are on some sort of Unitarian Scavenger Hunt and I am proud that I can contribute in a category.
10:20 a.m. - A teen walks by and mentions that the video they are watching is “really good!” I scan him with my sarcasm meter, but it registers zero. He meant it! A teen teacher walks by and says something about how even blind squirrels find nuts sometimes.
10:25 a.m. - I peek in the Kid’s Clubhouse and remind them that it is almost service time. The kids are engrossed and I begin to worry that they won’t come out, but they do.
10:31 a.m. - With the kids safely parked in the sanctuary, the first hour is declared a success.
10:45 a.m. - Thank goodness, someone remembered to bring the Religious Education chalice into the sanctuary.
10:49 a.m. - Whoops! Forgot to appoint a kid to light the chalice. Hope there isn’t a fight.
10:51 a.m. - Children happily filing out, but our number has now tripled from the first hour. We have a total of 21 youth walking out with us. I discover that Ngoc and Kristy have another nine in the nursery.
10:52 a.m. - Standing room only in the Kid’s Clubhouse, but Ken is assuring them that no one needs a chair for today’s activity.
10:54 a.m. - Cindy is popping wheelbarrows of popcorn for snack. Shahla starts counting juice cups and pouring orange juice. We have great lesson plans and fantastic teachers, but we all know that the snack can make or break the whole morning.
10:55 a.m. - Three adults studying a popcorn package to be sure that the manufacturer didn’t sneak any wheat product into it.
11:06 a.m. - The snack has been delivered and is getting rave reviews. The Kid’s Clubhouse appears in teams of three with notecards, pencils, magnifying glasses and big grins of anticipation. I have no idea what their lesson is, but they are clearly engaged. Out the door they go. A quick peak inside the other rooms tells me everyone is engaged, although several are asleep in the nursery and one in the teen room.
11:30 a.m. - Parents are starting to appear, but our entire Kid’s Clubhouse is still missing. I find them out by the garden, examining and drawing and clustering around one of the teachers like he is a rock star. Reluctantly, they are herded back to the building.
11:45 a.m. - Volunteers still busy, folding chairs, putting away craft supplies and carefully lining up artwork so the artist’s parents can find them.
11:57 a.m. - The children have merged back into their family units and are raiding the grapes that the hospitality committee put out. The volunteers are smiling because they know that in our little corner of the building everything was perfect this morning. I’m smiling with admiration. I’m happy to be part of an organization that recognizes the importance of this work. I’m grateful for the many hands and many hours that all came together to make this morning such a great success. I also know we need to order more cups and I think we may have wiped out the popcorn supply. I wonder what’s on the schedule next week?