I got home from Cubbies tonight, completely exhausted and frustrated. Tonight, we had a new child, which brings our total up to 9.... 7 boys and 2 girls. Cubbies is the AWANA program for preschool age (usually 3 and 4 year olds).
I am frustrated because the entire hour and a half is barely controlled chaos. I feel like I spend the majority of it yelling at one or all of the class (mostly the boys). And I'm not yelling in anger. I have to raise my voice to even be heard. The story time is spent trying to keep the children in their seats and not touching each other or sneaking off to play with the toys. I'm pretty sure that the message doesn't even get across because it's interrupted so many times. (And this is a 5-minute or shorter story time... It's not like we're trying to get them to sit still for 20 minutes.)
At our church, Cubbies is supposed to be for the children of the helpers (basically we watch their young children so they are free to help with the older children). This year, only 3 of the 9 are helpers' children. The rest just kept showing up, with no advance warning. There are only two of us to lead all of them, and as rambunctious as some of the boys are, I feel like we need at least 4 helpers most of the time. I would guess that half of the children go to church regularly, and the other half are un-churched or "barely churched". (I don't know this for sure, but it's just a feeling I get.)
I don't know what to do. I don't want to tell people that they can't come, especially when this may be the only chance that some of these children may hear about Jesus, or be able to see Jesus' love. But when you have a class so rowdy, no one can learn about Jesus, and I definitely don't feel like I'm showing Jesus' love.
So please pray for us. Pray that Nicki and I will have patience and wisdom, and pray that we will somehow get another helper. Pray that the love of Jesus will show through, despite the craziness on Wednesday nights.