Monday, June 21, 2010

a first

Martin just returned from a successful evening at Bible school. If you're from the planet Mars or from California, you might be asking yourself, "What in the world is Bible school?" To answer, I must reference the (outrageously problematic) red America-blue America dichotomy and say this: Bible school is second-tier summer entertainment for country kids, coming in a close second to the county fair and far ahead of picking the giant patch of green beans your mom insists on planting.

More specifically, Bible school is a combination of Protestant catechism, bad crafts, and community mixer. I attended numerous Bible schools every summer: with my Baptist neighbors (who had a flag in their church), with my Conservative Mennonite neighbors (I had to wear a dress), and whoever else from the neighborhood invited us. It gives kids something relatively structured to do after a long day of playing in the sprinkler and shucking corn.

I had my doubts about sending Martin to Bible school, at least sending him unaccompanied. We have never been able to send him to a structured event and trust that he can handle it on his own. We've accompanied him to school, to birthday parties, to library reading groups. Last summer, I volunteered to be the teacher for his age-group's Bible school class. I couldn't imagine instructing another person on how to handle Martin.

This evening, I held my breath and dropped Martin off at Keezletown United Methodist Church. I provided my cell number in case anything went wrong. No one called. Two hours later, Martin was dancing and singing with a bunch of new friends when my sister-in-law went to pick him up. A first.

Bible school provided many firsts in my life. I lost my first tooth at Bible school and brought it home in the purse that had previously carried my offering money. At Bible school, I first learned about something called "the problem of world hunger." For a long time, I thought that Martin might not have the chance to go to things like Bible school, that he'd miss out on the bad crafts and goofy songs and play with other kids. But he had his own first tonight: he went out into the world and managed - had fun even - all by himself.


  1. Fantastic! Now that I'm firmly ensconced in the Bible Belt I have a new understanding and appreciation for VBS. We didn't do it in my part of WNY back in the 70's. My girls LOVE it and I'm so glad Martin had a good experience tonight. May it continue on through the week. :)

  2. Yay! I was a VBS kid and we did have a flag in our church, actually two: an American flag and a Christian flag. And we pledged our allegiance to both of the flags as well as the Bible. As an adult, this may be the first time I'm celebrating that someone enjoyed vacation bible school.

  3. I count it an honor to have been the one to peek in the window of that Church to see Martin rocking out with a big smile on his face next to his cousin!

  4. This is a wonderful post. The things given are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.

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  5. Sounds like Martin is having an amazing summer so far! We're having our own adventures with moving this summer. Cheering on our boys. May they keep exceeding our expectations!

  6. I can hardly wait to meet Martin! I remember going to Bible school and camp as well. I had a good time. Being with other kids away from your parents can be glorious!

    -Jen Sherwood (soon to be Becker)

  7. awesome. so glad it went well.

  8. Congratulations to all of you!

  9. you're so in my neighborhood right now! (i'm in Broadway, North of Harrisonburg) & of course, i grew up going to several churches for VBS every summer (we're Baptist with a flag ~wink~)...glad Martin is having a great time!