**Originally posted on Deseret Book’s Time Out For Women Blog January 2013**
Sunbeams are warm and lovely, vibrant and life-giving. But if you get too close, they will incinerate you.
This was my line of thinking as I drove away from church last Sunday after my first week teaching a room full of Sunbeams with my husband Dan. Our new calling is to teach the three-year-olds at church, including my sweet, occasionally potty-trained daughter “Wanda”.
We taught them that they were children of God. We also taught them to sit in their chairs for the lesson and for sharing time, that dresses should be used to cover our bodies, not our heads, and OH-FOR-THE-LOVE-if-two-of-you-sit-still-at-the-same-time-for-30-seconds-I-will-buy-you-all-a-pony.
That’s what we taught them.
What they learned was – Sister and Brother Thompson love us, sharing time is long, and moving up to big kid primary is a lot like getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden. One week you’re playing with cars and trucks and snacking it up in luxury, and the next you get to follow up sacrament meeting with an hour sitting in hard chairs in a huge room full of big people, followed by another hour orbiting hard chairs in a prison cell with two crazy dancing grownups waving pictures from the gospel art picture kit. HUZZAH! By the sweat of their brows, indeed. Big kid primary is hard work. For everyone.
And it’s a big change from the Young Women organization, where I’ve been serving for the past six years. I like to think of it as mini Relief Society, only better. You get to teach them the gospel and they actually learn it. There’s something amazing about being part of their lives right at the time that they’re deciding who they are and what they really believe. Also, in the Mia Maid class, the girls are loving and sweet and they notice everything about you.
“Sister Thompson! Did you do something different with your hair? I love it! That is the cutest dress. Where did you get it? OhMyGoshYourEarringsAreSoFUN!”
In primary they notice things about you too.
Halfway through sharing time I noticed one little boy staring up at me intently. He was stroking the hair on my arm.
“Sister Thompson?” he asked.
“Why do you have so much hair on your arms?”
“It keeps me warm, I guess.” He looked unconvinced, squinting his eyes suspiciously.
“No. I think it’s because you’re gonna grow up to be a daddy.” He then reached down and plucked one of the hairs from my arm. And then another. I didn’t scream. I didn’t even tear up.
With the Young Women, I’m a fashion maven. In sunbeams, I’m a Yeti with man arms. Oh, how far we fall.
The class pretty much ate us for lunch. There was crying, yelling, jungle-gyming it all over the chairs, kids lying on the floor moaning, refusing to participate. It was amazing.
But I refuse to give in. Dan and I brought our four man-arms home, rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We have a plan. We have activities. We have stories. We have cheddar bunnies, and scarves that can be used for dancing or tying people to chairs. We spent this Saturday night preparing and packing the bag and then repreparing and then repacking the bag. We were almost ready.
And then I remembered that I’d planned on printing out pictures we’d taken of each of the kids to use in our lesson tomorrow. So, I pulled them up in Photoshop and…
Look at their FACES! Look again. For realz. I cannot stand the cuteness. It cannot be stood for.
Yes. I have the best calling. Ever. Sunday may be total chaos and the only thing they learn might be that we love them. But that’s okay. We will sing and play and look into those little faces and know that we’re doing a good work. And we will wear long sleeves. And carry hand sanitizer.