I Am Thankful for Fish

Remember back in January when I got my trash kicked by a group of 3-year-olds at church? Well, the following week Dan and I had a planning meeting, aimed at finding a way to take the power back… in love, of course.

And with a few changes, things got better quickly.

Each week we do a camp-song-style roll call at the beginning of class, putting magnets on the board with each of the kids’ pictures. We also put their pictures on the backs of their chairs so there’s no need to wrestle for position, climbing over the chairs or picking them up and smacking each other over the head with them, in pro wrestler fashion.

We also let them choose the agenda. We put pictures on the board of all the activities we can do during our hour together and then they decide as a class what order we’ll do them in. They always choose to have snack first. And then they always choose to never have a lesson. So when “Lesson” is the only card left, Dan and I slip it in near the top and teach them while they’re eating and any other chance we get. You could call it sneak teaching.

Well things have started to go so well that this Sunday I was bragging to a friend, snapping my fingers around like a diva, “Oh, Sunbeams? We’ve got Sunbeams down.”

Even if there’s not a reality TV camera following you around, never snap your fingers like a diva and say, “I got this” regarding something that’s fully dependent on a gaggle of preschoolers cooperating with you in any way.

Cue the worst week we’ve had since week one. During sharing time, one little boy pulled up my skirt and nestled himself underneath it like a tent. As I awkwardly extracted him from my nether regions, attempting not to flash the entire room, he pulled back with a huff and then slammed his head forward, crashing it into my knee.

I pulled him up onto my lap and comforted him while the rest of the kids melted down all around us. He kept saying, “I need to go talk to my dad. I just have to tell him one thing. Please let me go talk to my dad and tell him one thing.” Well, his dad was busy and I figured he could wait and tell him after class. Eventually I asked, “What do you need to go tell your dad?”

“I need to tell him how you hit me in the face.”

Yes you do.

So, the day continued with much crying, screaming, jumping, tattling, refusal to participate, refusal to NOT participate even though it wasn’t their turn, and even a moment where my own personal 3-year-old was fake crying so loudly, I turned to my husband and said, “We should take her to her parents.”

We made it through and we still loved them, more in a You-Are-All-Children-Of-God kind of way, than a I-Wish-You-All-Lived-At-My-House kind of way.

That was yesterday. But then this morning, we had a last minute shift in our non-church-related play group that consists of essentially the same group of kids and subsequently four of them did end up playing at my house all morning.

Things went fine until about five minutes before parent pickup, when they suddenly got way too quiet in the other room. I entered to find them gathered around the fish bowls, where our Bettas “live”.

One was missing.

“Where did the fish go, you guys?”

Blank stares.

I looked all around. There was water on the sofa table and on the couch. That’s when I noticed that the red fish had magically migrated to the bowl with the blue fish. They hadn’t discovered each other yet, at least not enough to start devouring each other, so I grabbed the net and spent 5 minutes chasing them around until I could move them back into separate living quarters.

“How did the fish get into the other bowl?” I asked.

They all said a name, the name of the tiniest kid in the group, a kid who isn’t nearly strong enough to pick up one of those bowls full of water and pour the fish into the other bowl.

“How did you do it?” I asked him.

“I just grabbed it with my hand,” he grinned.

At least now I know who I’d want to be stranded on a desert island with. The fish grabbing kid. Have you ever watched Survivor, where they swim around with full fishing gear, harpoons, masks, nets, and traps and can’t catch a piece of seafood to save their lives? I am like those losers. Five minutes it takes me to nab one of my fish with a net. This kid? 30 seconds alone and BAM! He grabs the fish like Danielson chopsticking a fly.

Two weeks ago, our lesson in church was “I am Thankful for Fish,” and we took our little fish in a jar and learned about Jonah and sushi and loaves and fishes. We passed around the jar until they started shaking it like Darla. They LOVED THE FISHY! I guess this little boy really took the lesson to heart. He wanted the fish to be free to play with its cannibalistic friend. At least my little friend didn’t eat the fish, or put it on land to see if it was amphibious.

According to our class, Jesus is amphibious. He is amphibious because he can go on land and on water. He is also amphibious because I asked them to name some amphibious creatures and, odds are, if I ask them a question at church, nine times out of ten, Jesus is the right answer.

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