It fell to my joyful lot to be the leader at our tiny Church School this morning. We left the service during the hymn before the gospel – “we” being me, two other adults and eight children – the children aged between 4 and 9 years.
We made our way to Room “F” on the St. Boniface Campus.
At first we had a ceremony of lighting a candle and saying a prayer. The children sat on the floor. The candle was on a small table – it was maybe 18” high. I lit the candle and began the prayer.
My prayer was overwhelmed by my own giggles. For the children had one intention in mind - it was to blow out the candle. They huffed and puffed so much that I could scarcely pray for laughing.
So I “transformed” the ceremony by announcing that I would light the candle, and that each child could, in turn, use a snuffer to extinguish the flame.
I lit the candle 8 times. And the eight children took turns to snuff it out. ‘Twas such fun for them, and for me!
Next came “story time”. I told the children that they could either sit on the floor, or on the chairs which were set beside some tables. Each child elected to take a chair.
I said “while I tell the story” you can draw and listen, or you can just draw (we had an ample supply of paper and magic markers”).
Six of the eight elected to draw. The other two elected to simply listen.
I told them my “made up” story of my pet elephant Mildred who ran away from my home, ate a great feast at Chuck E Cheeses, swam in the Gulf of Mexico off Siesta Key, and then told me that she wanted to return home to Africa.
My story continued – I took “Mildred” to Miami on my tricycle, and then we rowed from Miami to Africa where “Mildred” thanked me for taking her home.
I left it there. I drew no meanings or morals.
Meanwhile S.B. (aged 6) drew and coloured a picture of her stuffed toy. It was a remarkable work from a 6 year old.
Here it is- S.B’s drawing, alongside her bear, as photographed by her mother C.B. later today.
Whether or not my story had a deep meaning I rejoice that young S.B. was relaxed enough to create this fabulous drawing. It's an incredible pirce of work for a six year old.