Many days, I hate being a Sunday School teacher. I love my kids dearly, but there are times that I just want to sit them in a corner and take away their talking privileges.
It can be a thankless job. Parents get on your case. Kids get on your case. Other teachers get on your case. Sometimes your lesson backfires and you feel like an idiot. Sometimes you don't feel like you're connecting with the kids, or that they hate you. At those times, it is so easy to throw in the towel and say, "Forget it! I'm done with this!" You're simply not feeling the love.
Tonight, I took this picture. I had been considering taking it anyway, and then Sis.R asked me to take it, so I did. There are five little girls praying, and two youths. Of those five little girls, two of them have been my Sunday School students, and one of them I used to babysit. I also used to babysit one of the youths (they're sisters). Service tonight was amazing. God moved greatly, in a way that I haven't felt in a long time, and that I really needed. But, for me, the greatest feeling was when, during a blow-out song service, one of my current Sunday School students, who is not pictured, took off running around the church, raising her hands, praising her Lord.
She is six years old.
First, this spoke to me, and convicted me. That little girl is six years old and she is outwardly expressing her love for God with no holds barred. I am an adult now and am incredibly self-conscious in my worship (most of the time). I guess that's what God meant when he said to become as a little child. It shouldn't have been the way that it was. I, as her Sunday School teacher, was responsible for being an example. Instead, she and her childish faith convicted me and showed me what it means to worship freely.
The other thing that struck me was this picture, taken at our altar call tonight. These girls love God and were worshiping with everything that they had. I, as a Sunday School teacher and former babysitter, have some influence in their lives. It's not much, but it's an intimidating thing, nonetheless. The little girls in my Sunday School classes think I'm a rock god, which is amazing. I love it. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and all I wanted was for my Sunday School teacher, Sis.Hall to pray with me, and how much the time and prayers she instilled in me meant to a little socially-awkward girl. They look up to me. And seeing them worship tonight, all of them, those five and the little girl doing laps around the sanctuary, touched me. I influenced that. I, as a Sunday School teacher, showed them God's love. I was an example. It was an amazing feeling, watching those kids, MY kids, worship God.
In Teacher Academy, they teach us about efficacy. It's a big word that pretty much means the warm-fuzzy feeling that you get from helping someone, be it teaching them or spending time with them. Teachers get efficacy most often when their students apply knowledge to a situation, or do well on a test. Anything that shows that they made a difference and that their time has been worthwhile.
I don't think that I truly understood what efficacy meant. I don't think that anybody really can.
Until they watch a six-year-old run laps.