Poor Kyle and I attend church meetings every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Almost everyone in our congregation (we call them “wards” [as in “mental ward,” only most of us aren’t insane. I am, of course…but that’s totally beside the point]) has a job to do at church, or for church throughout the week.
Guess what job they saw fit to assign me?
Poor Kyle and I teach the six-turning-seven-year-olds in primary (which is Sunday School) every Sabbath morn. To say that this assignment is trying my faith…well, that would be putting it lightly. We have ten kids in our class, and they’re a high-spirited bunch, at best. At worst, they are disobedient and irreverent and spending two hours with them is as much fun as spending two hours on the stair master (not that I have ever experienced two hours on a stair master…but it seems pretty wretched).
Anyway, they’re good kids, and I will admit they are quite responsive to my “looks.” Which I’m rather proud to divulge, myself. I mean, I’ve always wanted to have those kind of “looks” (by “looks” I mean withering glares, not physical beauty [though, who knows? Maybe my physical beauty has something to do with it too?]).
A few weeks ago it was my turn to give the lesson (we were talking about the birth of Jesus Christ) and our kids were behaving (!!!). We came to the part of the story where Joseph could either break off his engagement to Mary, or have her stoned, or stay with her. I decided to really sink my teeth in–I mean, so many teachers tend to skim over that bit of history, and I, being a forward-thinker [or so I imagine], wanted to make sure my students were well-informed. I explained that Joseph and Mary were not even married yet, but Mary had become pregnant, and Joseph didn’t understand that the baby was Heavenly Father’s. He was angry and hurt, but he still loved Mary and didn’t want her to die from being stoned. So instead, he broke off the engagement. That would have been the end of it, if not for the angel who came to Joseph in the night and told him to lighten up–the baby was a child of God [literally]. Then we moved on. The entire subject of the immaculate conception took…maybe five minutes of the lesson.
After we finished the material, I wanted to see how much of it they had retained, and so I asked one girl–we’ll call her “Hallie”–what she had learned.
“Ummm….” she said, wracking her six year-old brain, “ummm… I learned that… It’s okay to have a baby even if you’re not married?”
How nice of you to retain that bit of information, Hallie, but no. Not exactly. I mean, women can have babies even when they’re not married, and it happens to some of the greatest people I know…but I don’t think our church exactly promotes such activities.
Then again…what if sweet little Hallie grows up and conceives immaculately herself?? I mean…it happened once. I don’t profess to know the entirety of God’s plan for this world…what if I tell Hallie it’s not okay to have a baby out of wedlock, and then she grows up to be like Mary, Mother of Christ, and conceives immaculately? She’ll be so confused! And depressed, and maybe she’ll remember that day in class when I told her such-and-such, and now she feels like a sinner when what she really needs is to be comforted in her time of travail–
I hope I don’t have to answer for this when I get to my final judgment. What am I going to say?
“Well, Heavenly Father…did you have to make it so confusing to explain to kids?”
It’s hard to know. And it’s exactly why I’m not having children of my own [anytime soon]. I am a terrible teacher; but they deserve the best.