See these sweet faces? Last Thursday morning while I was supposed to be helping these smart and funny and loving first and second graders be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world, I seriously wanted to bop a couple adults over the head. Or at least give them a good talking to.
Didn’t they know that we had brought our kids to the CDS, (the Center for Developmental Services,) as part of Missions Week? MISSIONS WEEK- you know, where WE DO MISSIONS- where we take the children to a different organization every day to see how the people there serve God and their community in the work they do- and where we do the work alongside them, if we can. Or at least take a walk around and see the place, not sit in a conference room and color a picture AS IF OUR CHILDREN WERE TWO OR THREE YEARS OLD! I half expected our kids to mutiny when the two ladies started smiling big and passed the crayons out. I expected a couple of our girls to put their hands on their hips and say, “UH EXCUSE ME BUT WE ARE SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS OLD- NOT TWO OR THREE- AND WE ARE HERE TO DO GOD’S WORK, NOT COLOR!” But no. Some of the coloring sheets had minions on them, which seemed to thrill every seven or eight year old’s soul except the souls of the children who were given dopey pictures of foxes wearing clothes. I quickly confiscated those and traded them for more minions before any uprising uprose.
Where was Miss Joy? We come here every other year and Miss Joy always leads us on a tour. Miss Joy knows what our kids can do and what we come there for. Miss Joy would make our visit worthwhile. WHERE ARE YOU MISS JOY?
It’s okay, I told myself. Get a hold of yourself. The nice lady told the kids that the CDS helps children with special needs from all over the upstate, that here in this one building, families can get access to developmental screenings, diagnosis, therapy (occupational, physical, speech), audiology, psychology, prosthetics, orthotics, education, bilingual services, outreach, legal aid, care planning, and family support. And she explained all this in child-speak. And I think they heard it and understood.
So she asked them to color pictures to hang on the walls for the little kids to enjoy- well, that was sort of a missions activity, I guess. And she did ask the kids to write something encouraging to the children. So that’s good, I suppose, even though THE LITTLE KIDS THEY’RE HANGING THE PICTURES FOR CAN’T READ. So what’s that about?
I will let them finish the coloring, I said to myself. And then I will go over and nicely ask that they give us a tour LIKE THEY ALWAYS HAVE DONE SINCE 2012 so that this visit can be meaningful to our group and they can really understand what all this talking has been about.
I waited a few minutes. And then I headed over to talk to the lady to nicely and politely request the tour I had expected.
But then a child stopped me.
She wanted to show me her minion picture. “What a great job you’ve done coloring!” I said, trying to be as positive as seemed reasonable. But as the words left my mouth, I read the encouraging note she had written to the CDS children at the top of her paper, over the minion’s head.
Oh my heart.
Never give up.
God will always be cheering you on.
Oh Good Lord. God will always be cheering you on.
Keep trying. Never give up. God will always be cheering you on.
How we all need to hear this!
How these children need to hear this.
Lucy imagined those children learning to walk, putting one step in front of the other, falling, and getting back up again, and wrote them this message: Keep trying. Never give up. God will always be cheering you on. She heard about the children who are non-verbal, who are learning to move their arms, their legs, children with Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy or kids with problems hearing or speaking or feeding themselves, and the message was for them, too. Keep trying. Never give up. God will always be cheering you on.
And it wasn’t just Lucy.
As I walked around the tables, I read so many messages that reached right down and grabbed me by the throat and made me so thankful that I get to witness the care and love of children by children! Messages like: Be strong. Be kind. Try your best! You can do it!
What a great missions project!
So I hung my head and asked God to forgive me for thinking I know everything and for being a dolt. It was a perfectly good idea- a great one, even. And it had minions! Which kids love!
And then I asked the ladies humbly and nicely if we could please take a tour. I nodded that yes, there are classes going on but we don’t need to go in and disrupt them. We can just peer in the windows like we usually do with Miss Joy, (who should be told about the coloring and what a great idea it is) and that will be enough and will help our children more deeply understand what goes on at the CDS. And the nice ladies said yes!
So a good time was had by all. Minions were colored, adults were inspired (I know I was,) a tour was made, and our children got to see God in action, through the loving hands and feet of the people of CDS.
I love my job.
Next time I want to bop people over the head, I’ll check with the kids first.
PS. I’m sorry, ladies at the CDS. You are wise. I bow to you. And in my thank you note to Joy, I will share your wisdom and my folly!
PS #2 You should see the video that the kids got to watch. It’s all about the CDS and shows off what an impressive organization it is. Check it out! It’s here!