This weekend I am once again the on-duty catechist for Children's Liturgy of the Word at my parish. This is one of 3 more sessions that I have scheduled prior to my due date in May. I have one more in Lent, and then my last one until the fall is on May 1st, Divine Mercy Sunday, which I can't wait for.
As I've been relaying, I enjoy very much being more involved in my parish, and I do like young children. However, I didn't really realize what I was getting myself into with this particular program. :) In a nutshell, most Sundays during the 10 am Mass, from the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word to the beginning of the offertory, a parish catechist (namely me, or one of about 4 others) accompanies any interested young child (targeted to children who are comfortable being without mom for about 20 minutes and who have not yet begun formal religious education) into the sacristy for a discussion on the readings that the children can better understand.
But... what I didn't realize was that trying to hold a discussion with a group of young children of varying ages is pretty difficult. Not to mention, people do send back children with older siblings who are really too young to get anything of the program. The instant a 3 year old quite naturally cannot pay attention and so throws her dolly in the air and runs in circles, the other children are instantly distracted, and this even from their own short attention spans. Some Sundays, I leave feeling like the kids actually paid attention and got something out of it, which makes me thrilled. More often than not, however, I feel stressed for the duration of our time together because I spend the interval doing nothing but crowd control.
I emailed the Director of Religious Ed. recently about us needing replacement posters for Lent, and happened to mention that this was a tough age group to keep focused for any length of time. Her reply resonated with me so deeply that, although she didn't have a solution to offer, made me feel so much better. She said, "I know it can seem like you are babysitting sometimes...but don't be discouraged!" And as soon as I read that, I felt assured, because that's it exactly! And me being me, I was worried that I felt like I was babysitting because I wasn't doing enough to engage their attention.
So, I feel better. :) And it's Lent, and so it can be part of my Lenten journey. This Sunday is the First Scrutiny for the RCIA candidates. I'll probably miss it, since I'll be in the sacristy with the kids, but it's so exciting knowing that the program is marching on. Soon, Easter will be in sight!