For many , many years, my friend Mary and I have talked about joining a Bible Study group together. With 15 kids and a 45 minute drive between us, things always seemed to get in the way. This fall, we made the priority just to finally do it. Mary found a church in between our homes, one that offered an in-depth study of the Bible, that also included children's programming for all of our little ones. We attended the informational session last Spring, signed the little white cards, and just like that, we had finally taken the first step on our Bible Study journey: commitment to attend.
Our study began last Tuesday, and with the exception of quite a rough start for my kiddos, the study itself will be simply fantastic. It is an international Bible Study Fellowship program that will go slowly through Isaiah this year. The study includes weekly reading plans, a study guide sheet, questions to be answered, gatherings in small groups to discuss, and an educational lecture each week. It is so wonderful to be diving into God's word at this level. I am thrilled to see where this takes us all over the next year.
Bethany and Thomas come with me and have Bible school of their own. Even for the littlest ones, a curriculum containing Bible songs, stories, activities and crafts are incorporated. These activities coincide with the information we are studying as parents, allowing us to make connections with our kids throughout the week. It is really an impressive program. Though my own church offers this same program, the kids and I are driving 45 minutes to meet up with our friends, making a personal and meaningful social connection as well.
The first week did NOT go well for Thomas. Being his first real experience in a class of any kind, he cried, screamed, and actually tantrummed as I dropped him off in his class. It did not help that we were quite late due to Melissa's van being late to pick her up at home, the parking lot being full requiring us to walk with very little feet about 3 blocks, and the simple fact that we are just always late, period. His distress was very hard for me, as he is such a sweet boy, and hard on him, too. I remained in the room with him for about 10 minutes, hoping to settle him, but I am certain that it only made things worse. He was still sad when I picked him up less than an hour later, but he had at least calmed down on one of the teacher's laps.
Today went remarkably better....Thomas and I discussed the what's, how's, and why's of Bible school on our entire 45 minute drive. He was armed with one car in each hand, wearing his favorite Batman tee, and at least a rudimentary understanding of what was going to happen this time. We arrived at the church, parked in the lot, and walked past the area upstairs when I pointed out to him the large sanctuary I would be in while he was in his classroom below. We dropped off Bethany (who has been doing well, as long as she is sitting near an adult), then headed down the stairs to his classroom. His teacher had a train track and cars set up for him to play with after a phone call earlier in the week discussing how we might make things less traumatic for my boy. Tubby stood at the doorway of the classroom, a small smile on his face when he saw what awaited him. Though insisting to keep his jacket on, he picked a spot for me to pin on his name tag, handed me his cars to keep in my bag, gave me a giant hug, then walked on his own, slowly into the room. He had a great morning, and I was so incredibly proud of him!
Oh, and this whole "going to school" thing has encouraged Thomas to become completely potty trained in the last week...even at night. Way to go Thomas! What a big boy you are becoming!