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.
I'm sorry that it has gotten to be so big. I was hoping for a small year. Unfortunately, this has been the story for me over the past three years I've done Cubbies. Close to ten kids, half unchurched (and undisciplined), and feeling like I am only doing crowd control instead of teaching a Bible lesson.
I haven't found the solution yet, and it's a lot of the reason why I needed a year off. Between being in the nursery 50% of the time on Sundays, watching up to four toddlers every day of the week and wrangling a crazy class of preschoolers on Wednesday nights, I was getting very discouraged. As crazy as may seem considering the three screaming babies last night, it has been a load off of my shoulders to have you taking Cubbies this year.
I know how you're feeling, and I'm sorry. At the same time, thank you for being willing to step up. So many parents think they should get to drop off their kids and not take any real responsibility.
I think that attitude gets me down more than anything. People who apparently see me as their glorified babysitter. What else do you call it when I am continually called on to serve them and their children but they are totally unwilling to serve me by taking mine every once in a while. I'm trying to work on my attitude about that, but I'm so overwhelmed I'm in tears some days and then someone else dumps their kid on me. Because I look like I'm loving this?! Riiight.
Is there anyway to get another helper? Or possibly cut the class in half?
Sorry its so hard!
The Pastor and Elders need to step in. This is not baby sitting: this is to be ministry to workers. One of the board needs to meet the parents at the door and explain. Some may get mad; but the reality is NO MINSITRY IS HAPPENING now. In fact a negative ministry is happening to some of the kids.
I have had to change my thinking as I have worked here with kids from all sorts of backgrounds and parents who would drop the kids here and leave if I let them. Being a doormat is not ministry. Nor is it love. I have set some very strict guidelines. Kids still come over but on my terms and now ministry can happen. Do not go on a guilt trip and do not let this go on all year--even if you have to resign. Sometime talk to Stephen. He helped me understand a lot of things about people. Some of what I thought was showing love was just enabling them.....
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