School-age children need strong guidance and prayers

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, September 21, 2017

When I finished my Sunday School year with the kindergarten age group, I thanked God for a mind and body to complete my commitment. At the same time I knew I needed a group where sitting-on-the-floor games weren’t a weekly ritual. I also realized older youth usually hear the gentle whisper of Christ’s salvation plan more readily than preschoolers.

My request for a move was answered promptly to a team of teachers for an older group. My family members seemed a bit apprehensive about my joining a much younger generation, but I’m well aware of the “roaring lion’s” appetite for young minds and lives. I want to be a “hedge builder” around the “lambs” as I pray for receptive, quiet hearts.

On my first Sunday I realized “quiet” is no longer an atmosphere that’s familiar to most youth. They didn’t knock over stacks of blocks or clatter in a miniature kitchen, but they communicated verbally — with gusto. I immediately knew teaching would have to be super-charged with energy and bathed in preparatory prayer.

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My younger teacher team was already conditioned for this age group, having taught this age, and worked up a schedule for the team. I was listed as an assistant but trusted that God knew I needed a bit of conditioning time of my own before taking a lead.

I knew my major role would be to pray for them individually. After all, God changes hearts one at a time. I also knew I didn’t know anything about these kids.  A questionnaire was in order — questions that might give me a sneak peek into their personalities and backgrounds.

Seven minutes was the allotted time to fill out the forms. The results were compelling.

I learned that coaches should head most of our prayer lists. A majority of responses said sports was the favorite means of spending their free time.

Favorite TV shows were mostly the adult variety. The Walking Dead got one favorite vote. The Andy Griffith show didn’t appear on a single list.

I asked them to name one thing they couldn’t live without. They believe it’s their phone, video games, desserts, TV, friends, football, pets and a few listed family.

Another question asked them to name someone they admire. Sports figures won that one. Two of the 17 filling out a questionnaire listed their favorite part of school as math and art. The remainder gave PE, break, lunch, friends, and study hall as favorites. One child wrote, “Everything,” and a few wrote, “Nothing.”

How do you spend two-thirds of all weekdays in a place where you like nothing about it? Those answers made me sad but pointed me to the importance of my major objective — to pray for them, for school teachers having to compete with the electronic/social media age, and for coaches to realize and utilize their powerful influence over school age kids.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to