Millie and I are both early risers. She seems to do this by choice, while I do it…reluctantly. We were both up the other morning around 5 o’clock and she lumbered into the office and asked, “What are you doing, Mom?”
Me: Ah, I’m working on lesson plans. I’m trying to help people who want to do Love First. So I’m writing plans for how to do it.
Millie. Oh. Like, step one: get really stressed out on Saturday night?
Me: No, I’m not including that part.
Millie: And step two: get really stressed out on Sunday morning?
Me: I seem stressed on Sunday mornings?
Millie: And then step three: throw something together at the last minute and make the teachers do it.
Me: Is that what you think I’m doing?
Millie: And step four: realize you forgot something and run home and get it?
Me: Well, most people don’t live next to the church, so it doesn’t make sense to include that part. Blech. I feel really awful right now.
So, if you’ve read my posts before, or if you’re a parent, you already know this: kids don’t let you off easy. Millie is the chief in residence of the Let Me Tell You Where You Fall Short department.
But – although I hate to admit it – Millie might be sort of right: I do like to work under pressure. (Which I hope is your takeaway from her commentary.)
It’s true that I’ve been rising earlier than I’d like to so I can create lesson plans that look pretty, flow nicely, and give others an accurate snapshot of what Love First looks like in a classroom. But ask anyone (except Millie) and they’ll tell you that I’ve dragged my feet on this task. Full disclosure: I wanted my book to be enough. I wanted people to say, “Aha! I got it!” and then run with it. And actually, some parishes have literally done that. Others (like mine) still need some coaxing and prodding. And – as it turns out – a lesson plan can do exactly that.
What we’ve tried to do with our lesson plans is give people the crutch that so many of us need so that we can: let our guard down, give ourselves permission to go with our gut, and tap into our many gifts to create our own plans for any gathering with children. And it does take time. But if you’re anything like me, or my volunteers, or any Sunday school volunteer I’ve ever met, you’re not afraid to give time to something that’s important, meaningful, and brings you joy.
Writing lesson plans don’t bring me joy. Eek…sorry. But the gatherings bring me a tremendous amount of it, like the kind of joy that overflows and can’t be contained. It doesn’t happen every week (though I wish it did), but it comes pretty regularly with Love First, and that’s enough for me — and for my volunteers. We wait patiently for that moment when it feels exactly like church is meant to be: people of every generation caring for one another, not because we like each other, or even know each other, but because we are really, really good at loving one another.
I hope you like the lesson plans I’ve put together for you. I think you will, otherwise I wouldn’t spend the wee hours of the morning creating them. But know that they are meant to become a reflection of you, your gifts, the children in front of you, and the parish in which you are all learning to love.
And yes, Millie is sort of right: teaching Sunday school comes with a bit of Saturday evening stress. In the 5 years I’ve been doing it, I don’t know how to get rid of that part. If you’ve figured it out, please let me know!
Interested in our lesson plans?