Nailing Jello to a Tree


Years ago when we were raising our sons I read somewhere that raising children was rather like nailing jello to a tree.  I always thought that was a pretty apt description. This weekend I once again got to experience that feeling with two different groups of kids.

Sunday morning, after church, I filled in for a Sunday school teacher who needed to be gone. I taught (or should I say I attempted to teach) a group of nine first and second graders. If one could bottle the energy in that room it would be truly amazing what could all be powered by it.

I will say it was a tremendous amount of fun. Bribery of candy canes (not the missing ones from previous posts) was incredibly successful in keeping some semblance of control. They seemed fascinated by the story of Jesus and Matthew the tax collector. (It could have been my peanut butter jar of pennies that was fascinating….I am not totally sure.)

The peanut butter jar of pennies was for class participation. Each child was given some pennies prior to lesson time and told to hang on to them. (This had the added benefit of keeping their hands busy.) At a certain point in the story I became Matthew and collected their pennies. (The pennies were also returned at the end of class time as they had been attentive.) I recognize that some will not appreciate using bribery….but, at times, bribery will get you everywhere.

My other endeavor was being the “craft” lady for the 7th grade GEMS that met this Monday night. GEMS is kind of Christian Reformed Girls Scouts. They earn badges, do crafts, have Bible lessons etc. I was asked to help with the 7th graders as the craft was going to be making cards.

It had been a long time since I had been in the company of 7th grade girls.(And it has been even longer since I have been a 7th grade girl!)  I had kind of forgotten how giggly that age can be. After raising boys, this was an entirely different perspective. Never once have my sons “giggled”. They have guffawed, belly-laughed, snorked as they laughed but…..never ever giggled.

The card making went fairly well. Most of the trash ended up in the trash bin and most of the ink was stamped on the cards.  Everyone went home with three completed cards so I feel we were quite successful. For the cards; I basically went through my paper stash and used what I had on hand. The stamps used were all from Stampin Up as were the punches.

It would be kind of entertaining to know what perspective both of these groups had about “that lady” who came to class. Then again…..perhaps I don’t want to know! I have a feeling that the women who regularly teach these classes stay young at heart from dealing with those that are actually young.

I do admire those teachers. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment to teach and give your best to train kids. I have done the Sunday School job and it is not always easy. While it is not always easy……  it is always rewarding.


“We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open.”
Harry Edwards

“There’s nothing more contagious than the laughter of young children; it doesn’t even have to matter what they’re laughing about.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy



54 thoughts on “Nailing Jello to a Tree

  1. Jessica says:

    I can just see you in a room full of kiddos with a jar of pennies- excellent idea, by the way! That’s funny about the guffaws, but never giggles with your boys. Bet both classes enjoyed you. The cards sound fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladybug165 says:

    I used to teach kids church for 3 to 5 years old ! I really enjoyed it I think I learned more than my kids in the class! It was really rewarding ! I miss it sometimes ! It gives you a whole new perspective ! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Years ago I taught Kindergarten Sunday School on a regular basis. Later in life my husband and I helped with Youth Group (high school age kids) Both groups were so much fun in different ways.
      I love substituting because you never know which category you will get. I also get my “hang out with the kids fix” that way :).!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. kindergartenknowledge says:

    What fun! I like your two quotes…so true. One of the most important hopes for my students… no matter what grade I taught…was that they dream of what the world holds beyond their neighborhood. The second hope was that the children would find learning fun, laughter important and listening even more important! Now that you have had recent and successful experience…why don’t you tackle being an elementary substitute?!!!! I imagine you would make a wonderful teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I think to do that I would need to have a college degree. I never went to college….but if I had, teaching would have been what I went for.
      I have helped on field trips and sat in when our school has teacher appreciation day. They take the teachers for lunch and moms come in to watch the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kindergartenknowledge says:

        I just knew that you would have wanted to be a teacher! In some districts (at least in Texas)…a sub needs some college hours, but not a degree. A teacher’s assistant…for special ed and Pre-K, etc…do not need a degree. Some places might require some college hours. However, life experiences are taken into consideration. My assistant for the last two years did not go to college…her family could not afford to help at all. She dropped out of school before graduating from high school, but received a GED. She is a great assistant and friend! And…she receives full benefits from the district! Never too late to go to college…especially with online classes! I am thinking of taking some because I have 12 hours that I took after I finished my master’s. I just want to take the remainder…just so I can see if I can! I am quite crazy!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. susieshy45 says:

    I enjoyed your post- actually read it yesterday but didn’t find anything to write about- I was so absorbed in your experiences but I read the post again today and wanted to write something, just so you know I read the post.
    I have never taught Sunday School – no one has asked me and I have never volunteered either. My mother always tells me I must but I am not really knowledgeable enough to teach, I feel. I have a funny Sunday School story to share too.
    We go for arranged marriages where we come from. My sister’s in laws when they enquired about her to neighbours and church members, someone reported to them that my sister taught Sunday school and that clinched the deal, so to speak. For some reason that resonated with her mother in law and today she is her daughter in law. Who knows what mysterious ways God’s hands will lead us to ?
    I love your craft ideas and the penny ideas. I am always scared – what if the children ask a question I have no answer for- like where did God come from ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Kids are pretty forgiving if you don’t know the answer. hmmmmm Where did God come from.? One of the mysteries….He has always been there. I told my boys that was a good question to write down and put in a jar to ask God when you see Him face to face.
      I love how God works in our lives. You would do great with teaching!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Regina, Catchy Sketch says:

    Your cards are so different and each of them is beautiful in it’s own way.
    The idea with a jar is so clever!
    Once I was asked to fill in for English teacher in 5-th grade when I was in eleventh grade and an English-learner myself. It was challenging as children didn’t take it seriously, but it was really fun. 15 years have passed since then, but I still remember that day as if it was yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I checked out Pinterest for card ideas and these appealed to me. Not so difficult and a variety.
      The penny collecting idea was in the teacher’s guide. I just added a peanut butter jar so they could see the coins.
      I have a feeling I will remember this also. It was a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Regina, Catchy Sketch says:

        Oh, I forgot to tell you, that in my case it wasn’t just an ordinary thing. That year we had a self management day in our school, when all the pupils from eleventh grade were filling in for all the teachers at school and even for all the superintendents. Our school was relatively big with 11 grades, 3-4 classes in each grade and about 25 pupils in each class. It was amazing, that they trusted us and made it happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thechickengrandma says:

        That makes me think of when I was in high school……our bus drivers were all high school kids! When I think of all the miles those kids drove, in all kinds of weather with buses loaded with kids I am not sure if I should be scared or impressed.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ame says:

    i’m a huge fan of bribery! i’m sure there are lots of perspectives, but in life we are often rewarded in some form for what we do … or one could say, we’re motivated in some form. sometimes our only motivation is to honor God.

    and giggly girls! lots of giggles in my home 🙂

    my husband and step son chuckle 😉

    – – – – –

    my late Mentor had four sons and no daughters. i believe she was able to mentor so many women because she did not have daughters. women get jealous of other women, and having no daughters, that thought never even had to cross her mind. i brought it up to her once, but she had absolutely no frame within which to even think about it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I grew up with 2 sisters and a brother. It was different raising 3 sons. God definitely made the sexes different and how wonderful that he did.
      The one thing I noticed when helping with the giggly girls….they were the same as boys in the need to be listened to and loved.

      Liked by 2 people

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