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Pastor's wife: What you need to know about 'the flyswatter incident'


My voice was all scratchy on Thursday but not from COVID.

The night before at church, I had talked and laughed so much with our kids’ class I could barely speak.  It was just one of those priceless moments where everything was right … and nobody got hurt.

The Bible lesson was from Luke 2:41-50 when Mary and Joseph couldn’t find Jesus.  It’s one of my favorite stories to share though I don’t want to give the kids any ideas.  It’s plenty scary when you’re a parent and have lost a kid.

The only game I could think of to go along with the story was hide and seek – not the best game for church, so I improvised.  Since we’d had snow last week and it was already projected for this week, I felt a good game of “Shovel the Snow” would fit the bill.  (I was making it up as I went.)   

I’ll be the first to tell you that all my ideas are not brilliant.  What sounds awesome at home doesn’t always translate into genius at church with the kids. 

I had brand new flyswatters.  If we had white balloons, we could hit them like snowballs, pretending to “shovel the snow.”  I gathered my supplies and was ready for Wednesday Nite Kidz.

The story was shared while the kids had a snack.  Our craft team helped the kids make scrolls and then it was game time. 

Going into the game room, the kids were just thrilled to hold flyswatters.  (It’s the simple things.)  Balloons are super exciting, too.  Wrangling them against one wall, I explained the plan while they didn’t pay attention; they were still excited about holding the flyswatters.  All they needed to do was shovel all the “snow” to the other side of the room.  I counted down from three and let them go.  That’s when the fun began!

They ran and squealed with delight. (I did, too.)  It was the best!  After all the snow was on one side of the room, we started all over again … and again.  There was no winner.  We didn’t keep score.  It was just wild fun at church in the kids’ department.  And nobody got hurt.  Shew and praise the Lord.

Several years ago, there was a flyswatter incident.  A little girl bent down to pick up a balloon and someone whacked a swatter against her face.  The rubber hit skin and made a mark.  She was still crying when her mom arrived. 

Why would I tell you this story about hitting balloons at church?  It’s important to get kids to God’s house.  There’s Vacation Bible School in the summer, but also Sunday School and other night stuff going on for them the rest of the year.  They will learn important lessons of who God is and about His love for them.  And they might have a little bit of fun while they’re learning.  Growing up knowing Jesus is the best gift you could ever give a child.

Since the pandemic, many families have not returned to church.  But they’ve never needed Jesus more!  Lots of churches are feeling like they are in a position of re-starting kid’s programs and everything else.  If I’m honest, it’s a little bit heartbreaking.  So what do we do?

Invite kids to church.   Bring your own, but also invite your grandkids and neighborhood kids.  Pray for the children’s workers at your church.  They need it.  Volunteer to help.  They probably need that, too. 

I’ll tell you what; you bring the kids and I’ll bring the shovels and snow!

Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at  preacherwife7@yahoo.com.


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