Monday, February 9, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Primary President

I know my experiences are just one example of how a Sunday can be, but I thought I'd share a Sunday in the life of a Primary president in a small ward:

Yawn. Is that the alarm already? Why is it that my body perversely wants to wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning but feels like it needs 3 more hours of sleep at 7:00 on a Sunday?! Time to get up and get a move on. I'll get some breakfast and see my hubby out the door (glad I don't have to go to any extra meetings this morning!) Time to check my phone and see if any teachers have called off for today. Got a text yesterday from one of them, but they weren't scheduled to teach today anyway. So far, so good. No new messages. Time to look over the presidency message I'll be giving today and try to get some inspiration from my scriptures. My mind is already going through everything I need to make sure gets done.

I made it to church. That's half the battle, right? Not exactly. That's the easy part for me. Now to get the chairs set up, check that the conducting sheet is on the podium and everything is in place. Yep- good to go. One more thing checked off my list. I'm looking forward to third hour. I love being with the children. Their enthusiasm, love, and faith make my day.

Ah...sit down in the chapel and enjoy the peaceful feeling. Time to start already? Yay- the opening hymn is one of my favorites! What did the bishop's counselor just say? Did I miss an important announcement? I hope not. It's hard to focus when someone keeps trying to whisper to me.

Here's my favorite part of the day- the sacrament. I love how quiet I feel, even when it's not perfectly quiet around me. I love my Savior. So glad He hasn't given up on me.

Now it's time for the talks. I wonder what they'll be on today? Hmmm...looking around, I'm starting to get a sinking feeling. I see one of our teachers. No, two. Um...where are the other two? Are the nursery leaders here? I see one...and that's it. Uh oh. Not again. Now my mind is anywhere but on the talks. Which class will I need to teach now? Who else can I get to teach another? Who can I ask to help in nursery? Suddenly the peaceful feeling of a few moments ago is lost in the anxiety of realizing that we're going to be short-handed and unprepared.

Well, this is an awful song. I guess I shouldn't be so honest about it, and really, it's just that it's a difficult tune. I think there are a total of five people who can actually sing it. Ugh. I miss singing some of the energetic songs. Something to make me feel hopeful and encouraged.

I like this talk. I'm glad I decided to just worry about the classes when it's class time so I can focus on what this brother is saying. Ouch, that admonition hit home. So many reminders that I've still got so much progress to make before I'm really a "saint." Love that he adds little bits of humor though.

Ah, the closing hymn is a good one. I love this song. I'd say it's one of my favorites, but I think I have about 40 of those.

Sacrament meeting is over already? I don't know what people are talking about when they say 3 hours is a long time at church. Oh, wait...once I've spent 2 hours in primary it does kind of feel like 6. Not because it's not enjoyable. It's just very busy and tiring.

Let's see- if I ask Stephanie to cover that class, I can teach the Sunbeams, and nursery only has one child and the leader is comfortable being by herself. Not ideal by any means, but it'll have to do for today. Problem solved. Kind of.

Who's in my class today? I see N and A and M. I love these little ones. Gotta go grab a manual and copy a page for coloring. I hate not having had time to prepare. Had I known, I would've read through the lesson and had an activity for them. Ugh. It feels like we're cheating the kids when we have to put together a lesson "on the fly." Uh oh... is it a full moon or something? Where are my smiling, sweet sunbeams? Why is everyone so cranky??! Sigh. Let's see if we can get them to smile. Yep- pretending to be super grumpy teacher caused a smile or two. I hope it lasts. Nope. Bigger sigh.

Well, I survived that hour. Too bad I didn't have treats to bribe them with. Tough crowd today. Let's hope things go smoother for third hour.

Cool- look at how many children are here today! That makes me smile! I love each of these kids. All so different in personalities, but all so great in their own ways. This is why I keep giving 110% on Sundays. All for them.

Oh, dear. Another meltdown for M, and I have to sit with N on my lap or she wants to go to momma too. Hard to conduct with a little one tagging along, but I'd rather have her be my shadow than want to leave. Wow, it's noisy in here today. The older kids seem to be having a great time visiting with each other. Love to see their friendships. But...we really do need to get started!

I love listening to the children pray. You never know what they'll say. Sometimes it's so sincere and heartfelt. Other times (especially with little ones) they'll just talk to God about their doll. Makes me smile. Now it's time to share my presidency message. I'm going to try to help the children learn how to prepare a talk for Primary. Not a fun subject, but I think our kids are capable of so much more than just reading a talk out of the Friend. I hope this will help them want to search the scriptures and check out the resources on the church's website. They're just spiritual giants in the bud- wait til they bloom!

Sweet N just put her hands on both sides of my face (like I did during the lesson, to show them how Jesus would hold their face and tell them each how much He loves them.) So glad she remembered something good from the lesson!

Wasn't the full moon last week? Really, I don't know what's going on in here. Why are the older kids being so noisy? Oh, wait...that's some adults in the back of the room being that loud. That's not good. I can't leave "my" class though. Good...Tanya just sat behind me to try to get the Valiant boys to behave. I'm shocked by how disrespectful the older children are being today. Not their finest hour.

Poor Stephanie. Singing time really should be fun, and these kids are just NOT settling down. I'm so glad she's not a quitter.

Sharing time went better. Tanya did great. Probably helps that the older boys got to act out a man being stranded in a pit and a second man coming to his aid with a ladder. Quite entertaining, actually. And such a great object lesson. Hmm...I think we're going to have to separate some of the friends on the back row. Love that they enjoy coming and seeing each other, but it's not cool to have the big kids giving the little ones such a bad example.

Time for the closing song already? Thank goodness!

Whew. Survived two hours of Primary. Sure wish I had had time to talk to our newest teacher. She looks shell-shocked back there, and I know how lonely it can be serving in Primary. I wonder where the other teachers were today? Are they okay? I know there's been a lot of sickness going around lately. I hope Britney got the assignments passed out- A was eager to know what her topic is for next week.

Time to get things put away and take a few minutes to chat before heading home. What? M didn't sleep at all last night? Sure wish I had known that when he was in class- gives me a whole different perspective on his meltdowns. Poor little guy. And his poor mom.

Ah. Home. I'm wiped out. It's exhausting enough to give 110%, but when you give your all and it still ends up like a train wreck, it's draining. I feel like crying. I don't understand why so few people want to serve in Primary. I don't understand why teachers don't let me know when they won't be there. I don't know how to help new teachers when I'm busy subbing for others. I don't understand why other adults don't see Primary as being the important foundation that it is. I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.

But then I remember N putting her hands on the sides of my face and I remember that Jesus loves me, too.

And...the children are so worth it.


Helen & Bill said...

I love your blog entries. They are so insightful, and truly typify what the challenges and the blessings are of serving in the Church. Good job Patty!

Stephanie Turner said...

I wrote a reply entitled "A Day in the Life of the Primary Chorister", but it won't let me post it because it is too long. :(

Mama D said...

You. Are. Amazing.

So grateful for people like you who serve in Primary. It's a tough, wonderful place to serve.