A few weeks ago my five year old was given a loud New Year’s Eve party type plastic horn during Sunday School. I think the horn had something to do with the celebration the prodigal son was thrown when he returned home but I’m not 100% positive because it was hard to hear her explanation over the loud horn blowing she was doing in the church hallway. And then in the parking lot. And then in the car. And then in our kitchen. Needless to say, when she took a nap, I Houdini’d that horn out of our house never to be seen again.
But it got me thinking, what other Sunday School items send instant dread into me? The horn is a starter, but what other things should never, ever be given to kids in Sunday School? If only there was a comprehensive, yet short, list, perhaps called:
Things we should never give kids in Sunday School:
I feel like we already voted on this, goldfish crackers are the official snack of Sunday School, but occasionally my five year old will emerge from class with a Dixie cup full of marshmallows. She tends to pack for the road, and never eats the snack in the class but instead enjoys eating it in the car while sitting next to her three year old sister who happens to not have a lap full of delightful marshmallows. This is torture. This needs to stop. I can only negotiate so many more marshmallow exchange programs in the backseat. Let’s stick with goldfish please, the marshmallow is too delicious and volatile of a snack for a Sunday morning.
2. Wet paint
I don’t know that a Sunday School project is ever really dry. You could probably leave it in the desert, under the relentless glare of the yellow sun for a year and when you returned and picked up the Noah’s Ark painting, some paint would get on your hands. And your shirt and your back seat and your couch at home and eventually your fridge. Granted, most kids are surrealists when it comes to painting and act like they’re making topographical maps they layer on the paint so thick, but let’s lean into crayons hard instead of globs of paint. And not Prang, those things are horrible. Real, honest to goodness crayons. Death to paint. Long live Crayola, even though that “sharpener” thing on the back of the box is useless.
3. Cool things that only one class gets
If the five year old class gets a lamb puppet with a horn nose and the three year old class gets a piece of paper that says, “Jesus Loves You” you might as well send them home with a UFC fighting octagon as well because it’s “go time” at the Acuff house. I don’t want to say that we’re raising little communists, but equality makes the world go round when it comes to kids. Please don’t do some amazing handout or toy or gift for one class and then just give the other kids hugs as the take home.
4. Glitter of any sort
I will write about the horrors of glitter until the die I day, which is also how long the glitter from a Sunday School or Vacation Bible School project will remain in your home. You can’t clean up glitter. It laughs at vacuums, giggles at wet paper towels and somehow multiples like a craft bunny. “Oh, cute, they used blue and pink glitter to design this fish during a story about God creating the world” you’ll think the first time your kid comes home glittered. Think again, because years later when you grab your keys to take your now college aged kid to Freshman orientation your hand will emerge with glitter on it from the junk draw where you keep the keys. Glitter never dies. You’re only hope is to never bring it home, but do you really want to be that guy who throws his kid’s Sunday School project away in a trash can in the hall at church? No you don’t.
That’s my list of things we shouldn’t send home. But what do we want kids to get in Sunday School? Well, I’ve only volunteered twice in our church’s Sunday School classes but do you know what I sent those kids home with? Exhaustion.
I ran them like they were on some sort of toddler P90X program. We played chase and tag and cars and princesses until they could barely move. That’s what we should give kids in Sunday School, reasons to have long Sunday afternoon naps. Until the rest of the world subscribes to that theory though, please just promise me no more marshmallows.