As preschool leaders, we know the value of preparation. More than just printing and preparing printables, preparation includes reading the Bible story several times, highlighting any activities or storytelling ideas you wish to incorporate, and praying over the session and the little ones you’re going to teach before you arrive at your designated post.
Then it happens.
The littlest ones you’ve prepared all week to teach are teething. Or they are having a tougher time separating from mom and dad this week. Or they are coming off of the flu, or an ear infection, or any other virus that makes them only want to wail and crawl to the door. It happened to me, despite my plans and prayers.
Normally I teach my 2s and 3s, but a few weeks ago, I was asked to step into the baby room since the regular leader was going to be out. I was excited, and I was armed with my Main Points and Gospel Gems. Before the children arrived, I surveyed the room for simple toys that we could use to incorporate the Gospel Gems from the Babies and Toddlers Leader Guide since this was my first time in the room.
Then the children arrived. One was recovering from being sick, and he was still a little stuffy. Another was teething and had a really hard time letting Mommy depart. Before we knew it, we had six sobbing, wailing babies. At one point, in a moment of desperation, I bounced a baby on my hip and made “ch-ch-ch” sounds every time the red second hand on the clock bumped to the next line. (And it worked, for about 25 ch-ch-chs.) The only thing that even came close to my plans for that class was that I played Scripture songs on the CD player and told as many children as I could “God made you, and God loves you.”
Any onlooker might have thought the day was a failure. We didn’t get to say the key passage or pass around the Bible. We mostly held the kiddos who were crying and tried to interact with the ones who had settled down. But, my friends, we taught one of the most central truths to the babies in our care that day: Church is a place where people love me and meet my needs.
Sure, it would have been nice to do a cute craft that day. It would have been fantastic if moms and dads had come into the room to see all six of the little ones patting the Bible or hearing us repeat the Gospel Gems. Instead, the parents came in and saw, These people love my family enough to love on my child when s/he is having a rough day.
So the next time your plans flop due to a rough morning, sick littles ones, or the other joys that make teaching babies and toddlers so unpredictable, remember to be faithful in the most important thing of all: Showing the children and their families that you love them like Jesus loves you.
Rachel Myrick is the Babies and Toddlers Content Editor for the Gospel Project for Kids. Rachel has served babies, toddlers, and preschoolers for nearly eighteen years. She, her husband (Shaun), and her son (Gideon), are members of City Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where she serves the 2s and 3s.