I took a stack of library books about places one might visit—Namibia, Swaziland, the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa—and another stack about jobs and professions. It does this librarian’s heart good to see the children sitting on the steps devouring books. One girl held an armload, not wanting to give any to one of the younger boys. “He can’t read yet.”
“I want to have bad friends who beat me up.”
“I want to steal things and go to jail.”
How they cackled at the little one who raised his hand!
We talked about God’s plans for us and memorized Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Everyone wanted to participate in holding one of the words up front for others to read. (I use the Child Evangelism Fellowship technique of removing one word or phrase with each repetition.) After we had learned the verse, I gave the words to some of the older kids and told them to arrange themselves in the correct order. That way we got twice as much participation.
The next day at the other location, I got more written paragraphs, things like: "I want to be a doctor. I want to help my mother and father." "I want to be a police so I can help mothers abused and children abused." "I want to be an actress and get money to buy my mother a house." Several mentioned hurt or abuse. I encouraged each one in the value of their dreams and assured them that God has a plan for a future full of hope.
I collected the books from the steps and counted them. All there. But later when the books mixed with school bags as they finished their drawings, three disappeared. That leaves me very sad, not so much for the fine I will have to pay the library, as for the disconnect between the lesson and someone’s heart. The worker yelled and checked bags, but evidently not the right ones. We will have to do some review of today’s lesson next week.