Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Golf Course Christian

Last year, I was the Sunbeam teacher at my church. The Sunbeams are one of the classes in a kind of Sunday school deal that Mormons call Primary. Sunbeams are three-year olds. Sunbeams are barely civilized, highly entertaining, wildly affectionate, sweetly eager children who start out not being able to tell you their own names. By the end of that first year in Primary, they can stand and say a prayer by themselves. They pray for adorable things.

“Please bless my brother not to bite me anymore.”

“Please help me get a dog.”

“We’re thankful for Sissa [Sister] Zern and snacks.”

That’s me, Sissa Zern. I brought the snacks. 

One of my students was an adorable young man who struggled a bit. He said not a single word that I could understand. Sitting in a chair seemed a waste of his time. Being under the table was more interesting than coloring the picture on top of the table and so on . . . 

Stickers! He enjoyed stickers.

Like so many in his age range, however, by the end of our time together, he could stand and say a simple prayer and sing a little song and tell me what he was thankful for. We had a really good year, even a miracle or two.

Like most Primary teachers, I tried to prepare my little Sunbeams for a new year, a new class, and a new teacher. “Now, I won’t be your teacher next time you come to church,” I said.

They ate their goldfish, nodded their heads, and had no clue.

It’s always a bit traumatic. And on the first day of the new Primary year, I saw my little guy, sitting with his new class and his new teacher. He seemed shocked that I wouldn’t be sitting next to him. He reached out his hand to me and said three words.

“I. Need. You.”

And there it was, the reason I can’t be a golf course Christian. There just aren’t any sweet, little four-year-olds on the back nine, holding their hands out to me, inviting me to put my religion where my beliefs are.

Besides, I don’t golf.

Sister Linda (I’m Right Here) Zern
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