Monday, February 20, 2012

The Primary Manifesto

(Juanita Weasel. If you're not familiar with her, click HERE.
There's a little language. You've been warned.)

So, I'm tempted to write a long and rambling explanation about why I haven't written in so long. But I won't. The answer is fairly short: I've been busy and I didn't feel like it. Actually, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. But now I do. So here I am. (And if after reading that you were all, "What? She was gone?" don't tell me. Let me have my delusions illusions.)

I do want to talk a little about one of the things that's kept me busy, though. Be warned--I'm going to start speaking Mormon. I'll try to provide a translation when necessary. And I promise there will be a point. It just might take me a minute to get there.

A few weeks ago I was asked to be the Primary President. (Primary is the kids' program at church. Like Sunday school. A two hour Sunday school.) The president is, well, the president. I'm responsible for the teaching and spiritual well being of every kid in our church congregation from the age of 18 months to the day before their 12th birthday.

My first reaction when they asked me to do this was to laugh. I don't do children. They're sticky and germy and are always leaking some sort of bodily fluid. They're selfish and irrational and expect their needs to come first. (Clearly MY needs should always come first.) Then the urge to laugh was replaced by shock when I realized they were serious. They really wanted me to do this.

And after a little discussion about some reservations I had, I agreed to do it.

And the very first thing I did after accepting was buy a tub of antibacterial wipes and jug of hand sanitizer. They've already been used. A lot. It was like pee-mageddon in there the first week. (And the second.) (We'll see how the third week goes.)

Luckily I'm not doing it alone. There are teachers for each age group, and I have two counselors (assistants) to share the work load with.

But it has been a lot of work. The reason they needed a new president is because our congregation split. We had so many people that a whole new congregation had to be formed. And nearly all of the people who had been teachers and leaders in Primary were assigned to the new congregation.

So, there was no transition. None of us--not me, my counselors or most of the teachers--knew what we were doing. We were all thrown into the deep end of a pool full of kids (And snot. And pee.) without a life vest.

There's been a lot of tedious work getting things organized the past few weeks, but that's finally done and I can think about things other than class rolls and candy bribes.

Anyway, that was a lot of rambling to get to my point.

I'd been teaching the three year old class in Primary for the past eighteen months. And week after week I'd sit there and hear lessons about what the kids should and shouldn't do. How God would be unhappy if they didn't obey. How three year old girls shouldn't wear sleeveless dresses--as if a three year old has much choice in her clothing.

And I sort of got furious.

And I wondered where the lessons about God's love were.

So when I was given this opportunity to lead the children, the main reason I accepted was so that I could do my best to make sure the kids know that God loves them no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

And that led me to write my Primary Manifesto:

You are a child of God. Heavenly Father loves you no matter what you look like. He loves you no matter what you wear. He loves you no matter what you believe. He loves you no matter how many things you have. He loves you no matter who you love. He loves you no matter where you are on Sunday. He loves you no matter what you do. He loves you NO MATTER WHAT.

This just doesn't get said enough in Primary (or church in general.) Yes, God would like it if you did X, Y and Z, but he still loves you even if you don't. You are still a person of worth in the world. You don't have to fit a mold to be loved.

I teach my own kids to live a certain way, and there are consequences when they don't, but I always make it clear that I still love them, no matter what. Surely God must feel the same way about His children?

If one child leaves Primary knowing that they're loved, it will make all the work (And snot. And pee.) worth it.

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