It is easy to become jaded and disillusioned in life. Someone will disappoint you and you will disappoint others. Mentors, preachers, teachers, ministers, life-long friends, and family will fall from the pedestals they unknowingly stand upon in your heart. Whether it is extra-marital affairs, financial decisions, denial of our faith, or any random array of bad choices, people will fail.
Some people ask me why I serve children. They make statements such as, “I could never be with children that much,” or they dismiss children’s ministry as, “Oh, so you just play with kids all day,” or “Do you do anything besides teach on Sundays and Wednesday nights?” For those who serve in children’s ministry as a lay leader or a professional, you’ve heard these questions, and I’m sure you’ve given some of the same responses I’ve given…”Ummmmm,” “Well……,” “Nooooo…it’s more than that…” or “I love kids…they’re honest about who they are.” It isn’t that I don’t know why I do what I do. It is that I don’t understand how anyone could not understand that serving children is the BEST job in the world. When you are actively involved with children in a faith environment, public school setting, preschool, etc, it is much more difficult to become jaded and disillusioned. I serve children because they reflect the best of humanity and the faithfulness of God. There are times I become weary, depressed, lonely, but give me time with a group of children, and it seems as though the entire world is brighter.
Last week, my intern Mary and I, spent a week at Camp Impact at the Oklahoma Christian University with 10 of our 4th, 5th, and 6th grade girls. In addition to them, there were 345 other children at camp. The absolute joy, honesty, and desire to learn more about their faith is what draws me to children. We had so much fun! The girls came back ecstatic about Jesus and each other. The little community they built during the week was completely honest, sometimes serious, and sometimes absolutely crazy. While they began the week in competition with each other, they ended the week as sisters with a week of shared memories. This community is holy ground.
Of course, children will also disappoint us, but they always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Being in community with children brings me into a more holistic communion with God and my faith community at large. If you want to know how healthy a church family is, hang out with the kids for a while. They will teach you, humble you, and make you smile. The ten elementary girls taught me last week that the Singing Oaks church of Christ supports each other, desires to be in closer relationship with each other, and is passionate about being Jesus to others. They are a beautiful reflection of our church and their individual families. It is difficult to become jaded and disillusioned about life when you hang out with ten little girls who are growing in the Lord.