Nathanial Garrod

What I Learned from Fifth Graders

Since being back in California, I have been serving at my  home church – New Vintage Church – in Upstreet, the children’s ministry. It has been a ton of fun to facilitate conversation and activities with children of various ages – I think I’ve learned just as much from them as they have from me.

This past week I was serving with fifth grade boys. As I arrived and starting setting up the activities the three boys came in. We went through the activities, went to large group, and came back. Being fifth grade boys, I struggled with keeping them interested and on-task, so we went through a few of the first activities again.

Eventually it was time to finish up with prayer. For a second, I debated how to introduce this in a way that would actually catch their attention. “If they get nothing else out of this, I want them to remember that prayer is fun and important.” Then I remembered something I learned from my buddy Dane in Oklahoma.

“Okay,” I said to the fifth graders. “Make fists with both your hands and stretch them out.” I demonstrated, and they followed suit. “Good” I exclaimed, “Now put your right fist on top of the next persons left fist.” Again, I demonstrated. They did as they were shown. “Now when we say amen at the end of the prayer, you’re going to bump fists like so -” I moved my right fist below the kid to my rights left fist “-and then like this-” we fist bumped “-and then we do this-” I clapped. They looked a little bored.

“Okay, let’s try that. All at the same time.” I expected to have to demonstrate again. A year in Life Group Apples to Apocalypse, and we never had a time where everyone got it at the same time. The fifth graders put their fists in the right place.
“Amen.” Fist bump. Fist bump. Resounding clap. The girls on the other side of the room looked over their shoulders to see the noise. I smiled. The boys were genuinely excited about this.

“Okay, now we’re going to pray.” I felt the energy. This was something they were excited about. I went through the prayer, and on “Amen,” they all got it. Perfect timing. Loud clap.

Something a group of college students could never do in a year was accomplished by a group of fifth graders in five minutes.

From this I learned that sometimes when we grow up, we overcomplicate things. We add our fear and insecurities and added unnecessary steps to things that are really quite simple and accomplishable. It is normal and natural and human to do this. But think about how simple things could be if we could just shed our fears, insecurities, complications and baggage.

What would it take for you to drop all that for your next decision?


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This entry was posted on June 5, 2012 by in Uncategorized.


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