My son, Cole, who is 15, loves being a small group leader at Ada Bible Church for the 1st grade boys. This is a picture one of his boys drew of him. It’s actually a pretty good likeness.

Cole is leaving on a missions trip tomorrow, so I’ll be filling in. To prepare me, here is the advice Cole gave me—-verbatim–for taking on the 1st graders:

  • “Brice* isn’t as naughty as he might seem at first; he’s just misunderstood. He probably won’t want to come over to large group. He’ll probably want to stay back and work on a craft; he likes to give those to his dad. Just let him do it. He’s still listening.”
  • “Alex* is everyone’s favorite. If you tell him you’re my mom, he will instinctively run and jump on your arm, expecting you to do ultimate arm curls–like he does with ‘Mr. Cole’.”
  • “Cole W. doesn’t accept that my name is Cole, too. So he steals my name tag. It’s this game we play until, finally I verify my last name on the tag. You should wear my tag and play the game. It’s fun.”
  • “Jaden* is a tricky kid to work with . He doesn’t like to sit on the floor. If he takes a chair, just go with it. Sometimes the only way to win is not to play.”
  • “Chad*  struggles with doing song motions. Just grab his arm and use him like a puppet. He loves it.”
  • “Be prepared to be blown away by Carson*. He always learns the memory verse faster than I do.”
  • “Tell the guys to remember that the glue is for stickin’ not for snackin’.”
  • “They will want a purple marker. There is no purple marker. There is also no explanation for this.”
  • “Also, we don’t allow toys to be distractions. Actually, I take that back. Sometimes Logan* needs a toy so that he isn’t a distraction.”
  • “And the offering is for the Lord. Hijacking is not acceptable.”

So, with that, I believe I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. And I’m also inspired. Isn’t there something so great about having a leader at church, who loves your kid enough to know and understand him?

And there’s something super great about that leader being your own teenage son.

I’m proud of you, Cole. I’m honored to fill in for you.

*We changed the names to protect the innocent (or guilty? :)) Some of these kids–I was pleasantly surprised to discover–belong to my friends! See if you can guess which one is yours.

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