My wife and I have been doing the music for Children’s Church for about two months now. It’s a 20-minute block of time where we lead them in songs before the speaker of the day comes up. I lead and click the PowerPoint slides through, and Megan plays the piano. The age group is 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, a group I don’t really know much about.
I don’t know many of their names yet. I have difficulty learning names in general, and in a group of 50-60 kids I don’t see much outside of these 20 minutes once a week it’s that much harder. I know one 4th grader because she’s the daughter of friends of mine. There are four other kids that I also see in Tae Kwon Do, and I think I have their names down, but two of them are twins, so I’m not sure entirely if I know which of them is which.
We’ve been trying to engage the kids in conversation when they first get there, to try to get to know them a bit more and pick up on more names. Sometimes it takes a while for all three grades to get there, so one week we might get to talk to the third graders a bit more until the 4th and 5th graders arrive, another week it might be the 4th graders.
This past Sunday the 4th graders got there first. We were talking at the piano about the songs and one of the kids came up to the piano – the first time that’s happened, I’m pretty sure. She was very excited:
“I got my ears pierced and my sister is letting me wear her earrings!”
I’ve never been a little girl, but I’m told that getting one’s ears pierced is a big event. Makes sense she would be excited about telling us that. And her older sister letting her wear her earrings? Also very much a big event.
I’m still figuring out how to talk to kids. I know they’re humans and all, but I feel so far removed from that age that they might as well be little ETs. I am learning, though, that asking questions is a good thing. So I said something about how that was neat and that the earrings were very pretty, and then I asked, “How long ago did you get your ears pierced?”
Her answer sums up why I’m having trouble figuring kids out. If someone my own age says “I did this and this” in the same sentence, I can pretty much assume those two events are related, if by nothing else than at least by timeframe – “I went to Wisconsin and got some cheese,” “I went on a hike and got poison ivy,” “I got a new skateboard and went to the hospital” – these all make perfect sense to me. Her response, though, tells me I’ve got a ways to go before I understand kids:
“Oh, last year.”