Monday, January 5, 2009

First Grade Sunday School

Here's a funny story from my first week back on rotation with my favorite first graders:

The kids got out of Sing Time a bit early, so we're sitting around the table catching up. They seem just as happy to see me again as I am happy to be with them again, which is nice. As we're chatting, one of them pipes up: "Are you in college?"

"No, I've finished college."

"Oh, then you're married."

Grin. "No. I'm not married."

Now everyone is enticed by their own intrigue into the conversation. There are many guesses at my age, and someone asks, "Are you in high school?"

Chuckle. "No."

And again, "Are you in college?"


With my help, they finally guess my age with proud smiles and are now willing to believe I am indeed old enough to have finished college. The girl sitting next to me is catching up. "Wait, you're not married?"


"Do you have a boyfriend?"


"HOW DO YOU LIVE!?" Eyes wide and arms stretched out toward the sky in desperation.

Now I can't help myself. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a week! With smiling eyes I laugh heartily as I look at her and reply, "I have lots of friends." I resign to also respond: "I have a job..." not wishing to further instill the idea that we're defined as who we are by what we do, but not knowing how else to assuage their confusion about my 'young--but out of college--but not married' status as a person, their being wholly unacquainted with any other such persons. And this does seem to satisfy them, even the wide-eyed girl whose flair for the dramatic completely made my morning. And my hope is, that she will continue to encounter more holistic examples and ideas of what it means to be a woman.

At any rate, that was just one of the hilarious moments of my Sunday morning. Another was the spontaneous dance party that erupted when the calm background music for the game we were playing suddenly became upbeat. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

President Elect

This is my thought. Regardless of who you voted for, we have a new President Elect, poised and seemingly ready to take office in a few weeks, the highest office in the land. And this office and the person occupying it ought to have our unwavering respect. If the leader of our nation fails us with scandal or betrayal or incompetence, he or she has perhaps forfeit much of our respect, but there is a level of common decency that should never wane -- a human level if nothing else.

Regardless of who you voted for, January 20, 2009 is going to be a fine day. I'm amazed that anyone is able to deny the positives. I suppose it's less a matter of denial and more an issue weight. I suppose many of my readers believe President Elect Obama's liabilities outweigh his potential contributions. Well, either way, I believe it is crucial to our humanity, and thereby crucial to our Christianity to take moral high ground, to affirm the good, more than that, to look for it. Jesus said, "Seek and you shall find." And it is true. Seek the negative in a person or a situation and you will find it.

A challenge: Let's avoid the temptation to jump quickly upon each and every small opportunity to boast, "I told you so!" Let us not be people who delight only in pouncing upon the shortcomings of another so that we can proudly declare our right-ness, wearing our superiority like a badge of consolation. How petty. Let us rather be first to seek out the good and acclaim it, not to disregard or ignore negatives and shortcomings and wrongs and mistakes, but to keep balanced perspective.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My New Bike

Today I took the brand new bike I got for Christmas out for a lovely spin. (This is the great thing about living in Texas; it's a sunny 78 degrees F. I think I even got a bit of a tan.) First I did some errands, using turn signals and everything. I rode my bike over to Walmart to buy a lock for my bike, then to a specialty shop to buy incense for my 1st Grade Sunday School class tomorrow. We're doing the story of the Wise Men, and I actually found a stick called Frankincense & Myrrh. Cool! The kids are going to be in such awe.

Then, I rode over to the city's bike trail, which is quite nice, and rode around for a while amid lots of other cyclists (and just plain cyclers, like my self), all of us with our cool helmets on. "On your left." I'd say, whizzing past dog-walkers, speed-walkers, runners, and regular walkers. The dog park was packed with Frisbee-toting twenty-somethings and sun hat-wearing older couples. Every park I rode past was filled with whole families: Moms chatting and Dads swinging their young ones to their hearts' delight.

There's no room to store my bike in the garage, so it stays in the dining room next to the kitchen table. I'm pretty sure I have the coolest mom of anyone -- she puts up with a lot. On my way here, I rode through neighborhoods that my brother and I rode our bikes through as kids. My memory was swarmed with images of all our neighborhood friends riding in a pack to the park or to nowhere, and I was thinking, "I don't remember it being this difficult." I'm typing this at the library right now, and am getting ready to ride home. I may have to sit on ice packs for the next few days, but it was definitely worth it on this splendid January afternoon.