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I was tasked with preparing some of our Sunday School kids for an annual Bible Quiz. The quiz was made up of three components – memory verses, bible lessons and children hymns in one of our local languages (Ga). 

One Sunday, I met the team so we could learn our selected hymns. Twenty selected hymns, each hymn has an average of four verses and the language was colloquial in some cases. The children were expected to commit all the verses of the selected hymns to memory and to sing each hymn word for word. It was quite a daunting task for kids aged between 8-11.

My teaching style was to explain the words of the hymn, sing a line or two and get them to sing after me  in turns, until they could sing an entire verse on their own. As we learnt the hymns what struck me most was the different personalities of the kids. I  will focus on two extremes I observed. 

Mary-Anne was a nonchalant and sly little girl. She didn’t pay too much attention as I taught. Now, as each girl sang each verse in turn, it got closer to her turn. She walked up to me with a very intent look on her face and asked to use the washroom. I knew immediately she was trying to outsmart me and skip her turn. For her, the learning session was not a do or die affair. It was just another activity in her very busy life. Her slyness made me smile to myself. 

Then there was Sabina, a very sensitive and serious little girl. When it was her turn to sing she sang the first two or three lines of the verse and then her voice began to tremble. The next thing I knew she was crying and heaving as if she had been beaten. For a split second I was terribly confused. It however didn’t take too long for me to realise that she considered her inability to recall the words of the verse a failure – thus her tears. Her tears, her sensitivity and how serious she took life broke my heart because I had been there before. I feared for all the heartbreaks and curveballs life would throw her way as she grew and worried about how she would handle them. As I comforted her and tried to explain to her that she need not take everything to heart so much, I repeatedly said ” Beautiful girls do not cry”. 

May He who gives grace,  give us grace to handle what we consider to be our greatest trials and failures with wisdom and strength. May He constantly remind us that what seems like our greatest challenge is but a blowing wind that will pass. 

Kids are gems-musings of a Sunday School teacher. 

NB:All names have been changed. 

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