Last night's Girls' Brigade was one of those that makes me smile, that reminds me why I am mad enough to give up my 'free' (ha, ha, joke) time to work with other people's children for years on end.
It could have been a disaster - we have four leaders but last night circumstances conspired that I was the only one able to be there. Fortunately the Captain (names may soon change to be less 'military') had contacted someone to come along in her stead, but I had to run the whole evening at an hour's notice; good job I'm experienced and bossy! Amazingly one of our district 'officers' chose to drop in unnanounced, so we ended up with three leaders... strange ways!
We are making a banner for the church, but as our girls are aged between 5 and 10, a lot of careful guidance is needed to get something fit for purpose. Last night I showed them the fabric we've bought and they finalised the designs for their butterflies (which will need a whole day for me to cut out and match up the sequins, beads etc) so that next week they can make them. They haven't quite grasped the distinction between Easter (resurrection) and butterflies but they worked hard and we had a lot of fun. 'Wow, miss, this material is lovely' - praise indeed!
Our devotions at the moment are 'children in the Old Testament' and after we recapped last week's story of Samuel, I was telling the story of Naaman's servant girl. I mentioned that we don't know her name, no one thought to write it down. 'That's not fair,' piped up C aged 7, 'the boy's names get in.' Feminist theologian in the making? So they picked a name for her - Rosie being the suggestion they offered. Not very Hebrew, but who's checking?
As we got to prayer time, I asked them what they'd like to pray for the leaders who were absent - K who had been in a minor car shunt, and C whose partner is seriously ill. I was impressed by their suggestions - that K would get over being frightened and that C would be strong to cope with her situation. We were also asked to pray for a relative in prison and a big sister who'd just had a miscarriage - these girls have big issues in their young lives. For once there was no fidgetting during prayers as we earnestly brought their concerns to God.
I was once told that childrens/youth leaders needed to have an infinite capacity for disappointment, and I think that's true, but we also get some special moments when out of the mouths of children come pearls of widsom and insight to gladden the heart.