In June, I was the assistant teacher in the Junior Sunday School class assisting Gary…early this month, circumstances have forced me to go full time and today is my last class. I’m so glad :)
Some times the kids are the sweetest, coolest, funniest, loving, most excellent and most wonderful little darlings ever. But at times; it’s just stubbornness. It’s UTTER DISOBEDIENCE, ON STEROIDS. It’s a senseless, irrational, single-minded, unwavering, testosterone-fuelled, kamikaze disobedience. No amounts of reasoning, negotiation, positive or negative coercion will make the children turn from their path. And then the whole class will spiral out of control.
I realized that I was quite wishy-washy with their discipline. We had some black and white rules. But for the grey areas, I kept making up new rules and discarding the old ones as new situations unfolded. So I guess the kids didn’t take them seriously, or they just got confused. I think I gave a lot of empty threats as well, which I did not follow through with. When I asked them to do something, I should have expected them to do it. But instead I re-negotiated and explained and listed reasons and talked and talked, thus I let them get away with it and they wouldn’t do it until I blew up in anger.
I was also very aware that I was dealing with 10 very different personalities of the little people here, so what will work for one; will probably not work for another.
Victor – the most creative of all; be it in music or art, copies his big brother in mostly everything. I organized 2 craft sessions for the children and Victor always comes out with something that amazes me. I hope it will be a huge boost to his confidence, development and identity.
Caleb & Enoch – noisy, playful, talkative, comical and reckless.
Phentia & Joshua – well, this sister & brother team have not turn up for the past 1 month.
Samantha - she has been blessed by a cool, unaffected confidence about everything.
Basil – the weakling, the cry baby…I really wanted to make a ‘man’ out of him.
The J Siblings – never take the class seriously, never like to take part in the class activities. I racked my brain thinking of activities and practical lessons for them - different ways to contrive situations to encourage good character traits like teamwork, friendliness and sharing. However, it failed.
Steven – the obedient, faithful & hardworking one.
As I said before, kids behaving badly are just a normal part of growing up.
On the flip side, you don’t want to under-estimate the child’s potential or be a pushy teacher or be one with deluded expectations. You don’t want to smother the child, hold them back or keep them wrapped up in a cotton wool.
To be honest, I’m not really that well-versed in biblical studies, I know nothing, I basically just follow the module but most important of all…I want the children to have fun. But sometimes it hit me – what do I want to impart unto them at the end of the day? What kind of character do I have? And how is my character going to grow unto these children in terms of attitudes, behaviors, thinking and values? Which leads me to: How can I help the kids to develop good characteristics in the first place?
For example, I was a very cautious child. As a kid, I used to be proud that I had never broken a single bone in my body - no broken ankle, arm or wrist. Never had any stitches. I’ve never stepped on a bee, got stung by a jelly fish, fallen out of a tree, wandered too close to slippery rocks. It took me ages to coach myself past that way of thinking. I think there’s a huge degree of intellectual and emotional laziness associated with it, as well as the need to be in control and the need for stability. But I’m no psychologist, I don’t know what this entire means - I just know how to work around it in my life. That is why I always play safe. And I think I have to wake myself up with a kick in the butt, drag my sorry self away from my bubble of contentment and force myself to do something out of the ordinary :)
Lots to think about. Lots to hope for :)