“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not stray from it.”
If you’ve ever heard me preach, you know that one of my favorite story characters is “Little Johnny”. Johnny is a compilation of a number of childhood friends I had and the experiences we shared. And truth be told, there’s probably a bit of me in Johnny as well.
One of my favorite Little Johnny stories revolves around Vacation Bible School. The teacher was starting at the very beginning, telling the children how God created everything including human beings. For one of the few times in his life, Johnny sat very still and was rapt with attention as he heard the story of how Eve was created out of Adam’s rib. He found that beyond fascinating.
Later that week, Johnny’s mom came to tell him it was time for lunch, and she found him lying on his bed holding his stomach. He looked flushed with a fever and his mother thought, “Oh no, he’s got a bug”. She felt his forehead and as she did, she asked him, “What’s the matter sweetie? Does you tummy hurt?”
Johnny looked up at her and said, “No, I have a pain in my side, Mom. I think I’m going to have a wife.”
I love to be around little children. They are so innocent and honest and open (sometimes too much so if they’re talking about you). And so even though we’re having to adopt new methods because of our “new normal” in the world, I’m still looking forward to Vacation Bible School this year. It starts next week and we’re having a “virtual VBS” using some technology I don’t understand but I can’t wait to see those anxious little faces and smiles and hear the laughter of children again.
Some of the best memories I have from childhood are from Vacation Bible School; Mrs. Tremble’s homemade sugar cookies; crafts with popsicle sticks and dried macaroni; Mrs. Cover riding herd on all the six-year-old boys; David getting stuck down in one of the grates outside an underground classroom window. All those memories are over 50 years old now, but they remain an important part of who I have become today.
In our Covid-19 world, I pray that we will continue to find new ways to reach our children with the good news of the gospel. There is nothing more important we can do.
“Father, Give us the wisdom to continue to teach our children of Your love and grace. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”