s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: S is for Sunbeam

Monday, May 12, 2008

S is for Sunbeam

One of the nice things about my calling is that I'm not responsible for disciplining the Primary kids or for entertaining them. This is good, because I'm not naturally good at holding people's attention and I'd have a hard time making them behave. (I get bored and fidgity, too.)

However, I do still like interacting with the kids, especially when we're doing a craft project for Sharing Time. Yesterday we were making a Mother's Day project which involved folding a paper doily in quarters, tying a string to it (to make a sort of pocket), making a paper flower out of tissue paper and a pipe cleaner, and decorating a card. Needless to say, the younger kids needed a bit of help, so I ended up hanging out with the Sunbeams and assembling their pockets while they colored the cards.

We have identical twin boys in the Sunbeam class and I've been working hard at learning to tell them apart. (I'm trying to learn the names of all of the kids, but I obviously have to work a bit harder with those two.) So I sat and talked with them as I tied the strings on their doilies. I asked Daniel if he goes by "Dan" or always "Daniel." (Always "Daniel.") And I pointed out that the string actually changed colors, so Daniel's string was white and blue while Jeremy's string was white and pink. (Jeremy didn't seem to mind; he just drew "J's" all over his Mother's Day card — I guess so she would know who it was from. Daniel colored part of his card blue and called it good.) And then I made the mistake of calling the folded doily a "pocket," which Daniel didn't think was accurate. "This is a pocket," he said, pointing to his pants pocket. So then we discussed how many pockets he had in his pants and on his shirt. (Two in his pants and one on his shirt.)

Also, I told them that if you're tying string, you have to sing the "string song," which goes like this:

"String, string, stringy string
Stringy, stringy string.

String, string, stringy string
Stringy, stringy string.

String, string, stringy string
Stringy, stringy string."

They thought it was pretty funny, but maybe you had to be there.

I realized as I was heading back to the primary room that I'm probably the goofiest of all of the adults who work with the kids — I'm perfectly willing to have a prolonged discussion about pockets and string and to invent an impromptu "string song," if the occasion calls for it. I got to wondering where I inherited this quality and then I realized, Duh!

It started when my brother turned 3 and was scared to go to Sunbeams alone, so my dad would sit in on the class with him. Halfway through the year, the original teachers moved and my dad was always there anyway, so they called him to be the new teacher. So, every Sunday he brought a laundry basket of toys to church with him — we had an awesome Little Tykes road set — and entertained the kids with songs — "Johnny hammers with one hammer" — and stories about his dad. "My dad's hair was so red, they called him Red!" (True story. My grandfather was an airplane mechanic and all of his work shirts had "Red" embroidered on them instead of his given name.)

We were in a ward with a large percentage of single-parent families, so a lot of his kids didn't have a male adult in the home. (One of his girls called him her "daddy teacher" for years afterwards.) He had the calling for seven years, until my parents moved out of the ward.

It's odd that I should realize I'm my father's daughter on Mother's Day, but sometimes that's how life is. Anyway, Happy Mother's Day, Dad!