“I’m tired! And thirsty,” Evelyn whined, “can we take a break?”
I took a deep breath. They had only practiced three times. Three times. Only less than 15 minutes. Then again, they are only 6 year olds, I thought. “Okay guys, let’s take a small break.”
I felt sweat starting to run down my neck and took my jacket off. It was pretty hot. I suddenly felt a pain of guilt for feeling frustrated towards the kids. I simply wanted to finish this practice with much better results. I wanted to prove that I was capable enough of doing it. I wanted to prove that I did not need any help. I wanted to prove I had grown and was able to get 12 kids to do a good show. To prove to my leader that she had not made a lamentable decision.
It was my first time organizing the yearly dance performance that the little kids at church do during our Christmas celebration. So far, it was heinous. I had to replace some kids due to the fact that some were going out of town, and others had only practiced one time and tonight was our last practice. At times it seemed like they had two left feet. To make matters worse, I thought to myself, the main “dancer” of the show, David, portrayed no emotion throughout the dance. I kept reminding him that most people’s attention will be drawn to him since he was in the middle. How will I get them to look cheery? Why won’t they- someone tugged at my sleeve.
“Jacque, the kids are running around and I told them to sit down, but they won’t listen and they keep running up the stairs and jumping even though you said not to.” David looked up at me with his big brown eyes distracting me from my thoughts.
“I need everyone to stop running,” I shouted, “and everyone needs to get back into their spots! Capisce?”
“Capisce!” they responded as each one made their way to their spots with loud stomps.
My feet moved as the song began to play, my arms swinging along. I suddenly realized, this is not for the people. I have always been taught to do these kind of things for God. This is what I had to transmit to them, “Remember to smile! We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus!”
Evelyn gave the goofiest grin, Stid’s brown eyes lit up, Luis gave his biggest smile. Everyone but one smiled, David. I groaned and began to think if I should replace David with Sara. However, something inside me neglected to that. She was always in the front and center, and I wanted to give others an opportunity
I pulled my eyebrows down together, tensed my muscles on my face, and made my eyes wide open, over the music I shouted, “This is how you guys look! Come on! This is supposed to be a party!”
David made an exasperated noise and gave a small smile. It was something. I made them practice one more time and once they finished I had them sit down. I kept reminding myself that they were kids, it’s not the same practicing with teens and have them get things more quickly. I took a deep breath, and pinched myself so I wouldn’t scream.
“Okay guys, you did a good job! Just remember to enjoy it,” I suddenly felt like I was talking more to myself, “you guys can do it! If you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? Friday night will be a time to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, a time to spend with family! Let’s give God our best!”
They giggled and began to get in line to go back to class. I pulled David over.
“Hey buddy what’s going on?”
“Nothing. I’m fine. It’s just that Stid keeps shouting when the song is playing and then Luis too and when we do the circle the other Luis tells me when to go but I already know and Sara goes faster and-”
“Hey, it’s okay,” I wiped the tears from his eyes. “Look, they are just singing along, and Sara knows the dance pretty well, but I put you in the center. You’re doing great, all I’m missing is your beautiful smile, the goofy David I know.”
He managed to calm down and I gave him a hug.
The next thing I knew it was Friday. Before they went up the stage, there was a time of praise and worship. They kept rubbing their small hands, some looked at the ground, others eyes seemed to roam around the building. To shake off their nerves, I had them jump along with me. They were laughing, singing and having a good time. It was soon their time to shine like stars. They went up and I couldn't help but to find myself smiling from ear to ear. I had never felt so proud; David was smiling so much, Evelyn giggled as she did a small mistake, Stid sang his heart out. This was the reason for why I serve in the children's area. To see them have a good time and worship God. They helped me remember it that night. It truly touched my heart. When they got off, I showered them with praises.
“Are you really proud of us?” Evelyn asked with her big brown doe eyes looking at me.
“More than proud.” She ran and hugged me tightly.