Heart Matters: Surprised by Sunday School

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For years I’d floated through life with a high-profile job, a
nice home, and a great husband. I thought I had everything. Then I
discovered I was pregnant.

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Everyone told me life would change. “Sure it will,” I agreed,
dismissing their warnings with a shrug. I never really believed
life would change that much.

But as all new “parents club” members discover, life didn’t just
change — it upended. Along with my complete lifestyle and priority
overhaul came some stunning realizations. The first and most
profound: My gentle but steady departure from church had to change.
Suddenly, as I studied my child’s innocent face, the value of my
religious upbringing was paramount.

Good and evil, right and wrong. These concepts took on great
importance to me, especially as I watched my child sleeping or held
him close. Life’s great issues plagued me. I agonized through
commercials imploring viewers to sponsor impoverished children with
sad, empty eyes. I fretted over crime reports on the evening news.
I scoured studies about kids’ drug abuse and sexual activity. And I
worried. Yes, life had changed.

Once my son was old enough to begin Sunday school, I knew that was
where he needed to be. In his first year, I attended every class
under the guise of needing to stay close to my clingy 3-year-old.
But in all honesty, I think I was more eager to see firsthand what
was happening in Sunday school. What were they teaching kids, and
how?

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My childhood Sunday school experience was negative. I still can’t
quite remember what I learned or did there. What I do remember is
my humiliation and frustration in first grade because I couldn’t
memorize the Lord’s Prayer. My mother worked with me diligently,
but my brain simply wasn’t one blessed with powers of memorization.
I’d go to Sunday school each week and freeze when it was my turn to
recite the prayer. This seemingly small experience tainted my
entire view of Sunday school.

But on my son’s first day of Sunday school, I was amazed at how
different things were after 20 years. The friendly, interesting
teacher got on the floor with the children. She spoke their
language, and she explained concepts from the Bible in ways that
made sense to preschoolers.

During our second year of Sunday school, I was shocked when the
teacher asked me to become a regular assistant since I attended
every Sunday anyway. I was unequipped. I didn’t know the Bible
except for the stories everybody knows. Plus, I’d only planned to
observe, not take on any “official” role. I thought it over. I
would just be an assistant, not a full-fledged teacher, so I
reluctantly agreed.

Now I wasn’t just an honorary member of my son’s Sunday school
class — I was required to be there. And every week in my new role
I learned more about the Bible and what it meant. As I prepared
crafts to help preschoolers visualize and internalize the lessons,
the stories of the Bible sank into me, too. Each Sunday, I worked
in the background, listening and learning along with the
kids.

And you know, life continued to change. That first Christmas in
Sunday school meant more to our family than any other Christmas. We
made a cake on Christmas day for Jesus’ birthday — chocolate
because that’s what he’d want, my son insisted. Easter became a
time of reflection and celebration, not just bunnies and colorful
eggs. Thanks to Sunday school, our family truly focused on the real
meaning of these special days.

So yes, life changed. Boy, did it. My priorities have been
rearranged. Our family refocused. My life upended. But today my
life is richer and happier than I ever could’ve imagined. As I
journey along with my son to Sunday school each week, I’m filled
with faith and joy that I’m helping build his life on God’s
foundation. And there’s something else — I must admit I’m enjoying
learning my Sunday school lessons right along with him.

Michelle Brosco Christian is the mother of two and a
freelance writer in Bel Alton, Maryland.

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