So that plan didn't exactly work. To be fair, it's been a long week; and, for me, the week can't even begin to be wrapped up until today is over and done and I'm curled up in bed with my breathing and heart rate back to normal.
VBS was phenomenal! Even though myself and my amazing assistant teacher were tucked up in a hot corner room where half the time the food workers forgot about us and the other half of the time they were avoiding us for the sake of their well-being, I enjoyed my job. (Plus, I got to play dress-up as a cowgirl all week. No complaints there!) I've had plenty of practice teaching memory verses thanks to Mom and Dad, and despite the fact that the kids were far more interested in their food than in me, I think we accomplished something. And I had enough wonderful, angelic, attentive kids to almost outweigh the not-to-good ones. Almost.
I'm not sure if the fact that every night but one we had to call in the reserves for crowd control is a testament to my poor ability to handle children, or testament to poor judgement with placing kids on teams. I was ashamed.
There were deadly dog-piles and the handing out of "men" and children whose vocabularies were temporarily reduced to "no" and "why", but we survived with our sanity only slightly damaged and some fun memories. And I reminded myself that it doesn't matter if it feels stupid; sometimes I need to play along and laugh at myself, because the kids will love it.
Yellow Team won the overall points for the week. And that's historic at our church. Yellow has had a losing streak for longer than my family has been attending, I think. Some years they may have won third instead of fourth; once I think they got second. But I've never seen them whip everyone else like they did this year. Even though my own Green Team fell in third, I was happy. Even better was the amount we raised in the penny offering for some beloved missionaries of ours. I think we're finally getting the hang of the penny offering.
One of the youth workers, who's more like the "All Youth Activities Director, Supervisor, and Supreme Overseer" at church, is not only brilliant, but I think a little crafty. Our verse for last night was Colossians 3:23: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." I explained to my kids what "heartily" meant: quickly, happily, and with excitement, the way your parents want you to do your chores. I also reminded them that the verse is saying it doesn't matter if man praises you; man's opinion doesn't matter. All that matters is doing right because it has to be done.
When the Supreme Overseer pointed to a vacuum parked in the middle of the sanctuary and said, "That's yours", that verse rang in my head, and then this sneaking suspicion developed: I bet she picked that specific verse for tonight as a reminder to the workers who get stuck cleaning in the aftermath. Halfway down one row of pews and three banged knuckles later (have you any idea how difficult it is to vacuum between church pews?) I was convinced. Smooth.
I like getting recognized for my work. Who doesn't? And I try to make sure I recognize others for their hard work and when they are honestly putting in an effort. Which is why I incorrectly used the box of candy given to me for prizes in class. The candy was intended for kids who could say all four of their verses. When the head Cowboy for the week came in and suggested a quiet seat prize, I jumped on it. I can do bribes, too. In my last class, I extended it, and all eight of the kids left with candy in their hands (except one who, for reasons I still can't quite figure out, gave his piece to another boy because "I know you worked really hard on your verses"). I had four problem kids in that class, and the last night they all worked harder than I could have hoped, and most said at least one verse. Victory!
Anyway. People did tell me "thank you, Miss Amber" (what is with this "Miss" stuff? Boggles my brain, I tell you) and I sang back over the whine of the vacuum "You're welcome!" But I kept telling myself that, though the praise felt good, I would have put in the same effort if everyone else had all gone off to bed or (because few people my age make a habit of going to bed by 10) out for ice cream. Right? Of course right.
In short (because I have to get going for the longest day thus far in my career), I learned a lot this week. And I'm convinced I'll need every lesson down the road, from child care to knowing the right balance of discipline and bribery to doing what needs to be done simply because it needs to be done and there's a vacuum standing in front of me, even though some silly person will probably come along in 10 minutes leaving behind a trail of dust and garbage. But it's okay.
If I'm still alive and sane, I shall see you...probably next week. Tomorrow is going to be a long one, too.