20 February 2011

Whew! Exhausting Day

What a day! I'm exhausted! Some good, some less good (but mostly good).

I had wanted to have the materials ready today for the lesson about the Good Shepherd and World Communion. Good: I was able to present the lesson. Less good: We'll have to pretend the rest of these sheep can stand up too. That and the fact that the priest was the only adult at communion! Once I realized that I wasn't going to get all the figures done, I prioritized them as follows: Good Shepherd, priest, children, other adults. (The adults didn't get done at all. The only figures who could stand up were the Shepherd, the priest, and two sheep.)

A different priest was serving our congregation today. Good: He was absolutely willing to come across to our building to give us communion and blessings, and was complimentary about our Godly Play set-up. Less good: I misjudged when he would come. I was desperately scrabbling around for things to do to keep the children occupied and in the circle as our feast drew to a close. We sang a silly song. And sang it again. We talked about what we were all wearing. I finally wound up giving the kids a quiz on our stories. Hmmm. Which story has a rainbow in it? Uh-huh. And which story has a star in it? Montessori educators are probably horrified.

The children and I are still finding our way with regard to what is and isn't acceptable behavior in the room and in the circle. (Parents who are reading - your child behaved just fine!) My helper said to me today, "You're so patient!" Good: the "Getting Ready" bench came into its own today, used absolutely not in a punishing sort of way but just in an appropriate you can sit there if you aren't ready yet, and I'll tell you the story later.And two children chose to sit there. Less good: I'm probably being too patient. When I told my husband about this on the drive home he suggested that probably I need to be more explicit sooner about behavior that isn't ideal, because this is all so new for all of us.

Early Christian image of Christ as the Good Shepherd (Fourth Century A.D.)
Museo Epigrafico, Rome (Foto: Kleuske) (licensed image)
So, it was almost all good today, but now I'm just wrung out. I'm so wrung out that I couldn't help it. I just had to come here and write about my day before I could cope with supper. Thanks for reading!

*In fact, nobody wondered aloud today, except me, so I just brought the Getting Ready children back to the circle (they had listened and watched very attentively from the bench), and asked if they'd like to hear the story again or if they were ready to do their work, and both decided to go straight to work.


  1. The "Getting Ready Bench" is a great idea!! I will have to try that as well. In my classroom at school, I have a "Break Room" (a sofa) where kids who are distracted can sit until they decide they are ready to listen/participate, and it is also used in a non-punitive way.

    Can you post pictures of your figures for this story? I've been wanting to do it, but I haven't come up with a good way to do homemade figures. The set here in Germany cost over 200 Euros, so I won't be buying it anytime soon.: )

  2. Never fear, I'll be posting lots of pictures! :)

    But I forgot to take my camera today, and anyway, with it all being only half-done, I'm not sure I'd have felt up to taking photos yet. Thanks loads for asking, though!

  3. As Vandriver, I know pretty well what stuff gets taken to and brought home from our Godly Play (we don't have on-site storage facilities yet), but I don't get to follow the actual Junior Church activities, as I am over on the other side of the river in the big church with the grown-ups. On the other hand I do get to follow the post-mortem afterwards! It seems to me to be going well: exploring, still, how to do GP with mainly very young children, and gradually assembling the kit needed (I hope Storyteller is going to post some pictures of her figures – she's worked hard on them and I like them a lot). – But btw/ that C4 picture of Xt as the Good Shepherd has always startled me by how young he looks, and sort of cheerful-shepherd-lad rather than surrogate-God-the-loving-Father – which is I guess my first association with the figure of the Good Shepherd!

  4. I loved the figures. I loved that they felt 'real' and that so much attention had been paid to their clothes and hair (not in a fashion sense but that they were'real') that the faces had no eyes or smiles or frowns was a real bonus. It meant I could 'imagine' them any way I liked

    I didn't notice that there weren't adults at the communion table ... some were small and some were large and I think that's how the kids would have perceived it too.

    as for Montessori educators ...well I wonder what they would have done when there was an unexpected extra 20 minutes today ... I liked the revision of the stories, but then I'm not a Montessori educator :)

  5. Thanks stf for the encouragement! I plan to write about these figures fairly soon, and include some pics.

  6. We are just beginning Godly Play, and I struggle with this. I seriously am wrung out every Sunday. How long did it take for this to kind of even out. I know it will never be perfect, but lately it seems as though each Sunday ends up being a circus.

    1. Hello, Sweeter! Thanks for visiting and commenting. And thanks for your work with children!

      I have been trying to decide how to answer your question. As an introvert, I was tired out after just about every session. That didn't change. However, it did "even out" so that, although tired I was no longer exhausted... and/or that it was a good kind of exhausted. (Usually.) I think it was always true that I could point to something that I was pleased about, something that had made it worthwhile.

      One big breakthrough in settling down came when we held an all-age Godly Play session and I asked one of the children to demonstrate to the adults how we "show that we are ready". That children instantly sat cross-legged, hands on knees, and silent - something that had never happened in our Sunday sessions before, but did much more often thereafter. I think there was a certain pride in being one of those "in the know". :)

      Something else that happened fairly quickly was that the children knew I cared about them and considered them REAL members of our congregation. And I think that was as important as whether they settled down to hear the 'official' lesson or not. God bless you as you work with your church's children!


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