Today we welcome another one of my classmates from Write Brilliant Academy, Cassia Glass. Cassia is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher living in the Houston suburbs with her husband McLeod and their two kids. She blogs at cassiaglass.com on God, creativity, and purpose (but also on dogs, teenagers, and SEC football). Her first book New Woman, New Clothes: Outfit Your Soul to Live, Lead, Love helps readers apply Biblical principles to all kinds of relationships. (This is also available on Kindle eBook.)
“Operator? Send someone quick! That mean old postman is in a tree teasing my darling doggie again.”
That’s our joke-book favorite. We giggle at the snarling “darling” and the panicked postman clinging to his branch.
We like this one, too:
What goes 99-bump, 99-bump, 99-bump? A centipede with a wooden leg.
Yes, cornball humor at its best.
Between telling jokes and setting up a LEGO® universe for a mini-fig battle royale, the session will zoom by as it does every week.
This is my fourth year mentoring elementary school kids—that time has zoomed by, too. When I started, I was parenting young children myself, but now I’m teaching my daughter to manage her clothing budget and my son to drive a car.
Mentoring is different from parenting, though. It’s not teaching or tutoring, either, though I sometimes borrow tricks from all three. At first, I tried developing a values-based curriculum, but it always felt like a lame excuse to impose adult respectability on what felt like extended playtime.
Now I know that the play and silliness IS the magic ingredient. I once laughed so hard I slid right out of my Kindergarten-sized blue chair. Me sliding out of my chair is now our gold-standard for judging whether something is funny, surprising, or amazing.
I’ve gotten good at such slap-stick.
I also have three distinct silly voices for LEGO® mini-figs, four if you count the alligator that occasionally ambushes our villain. Who knew I had such talent?
Not every day has been hi-jinks and high-fives, though. I’ve been the quiet friend listening when a day was plain awful, sometimes because of others and sometimes because of poor decisions a student made.
I’ve been the one to insist on respect and manners because how we treat each other matters. I’ve also been the one to insist that I will still show up as promised even if neither respect nor manners are present because showing up matters, too. True, we may not get to play and will sit side by side in our tiny chairs, listening to the tick of the second hand until we come to an agreement on how friends treat each other, but I will be there.
Maybe the showing-up aspect is what makes me most thankful I get to do this. We have a pretty strict policy about not giving food or gifts, and at first, I felt insecure being the main attraction. No flashy prizes. No sweet treats. Just me. A 40-something-year-old who steals her jokes out of a joke book. How was that going to work exactly?
Four years in, I guess the joke’s on me because I’ve seen how showing up week after week can change a kid’s trajectory.
That makes me want to slide right out of my chair in amazement and gratitude.