Little Sparklers

Sparky from the AWANA Club

Our big girls go to AWANA and tonight was “store night.”


I do not know the last time they have been this excited about anything. Anything at all, including Christmas, birthdays, and the opportunity to watch 63 hours of Strawberry Shortcake episodes in a row.


I am an AWANA graduate myself, I even earned a Sparky doll back in the day! If you’re unfamiliar with the program, it’s a type of youth group for kids ages 3 – 6th grade. They sing songs, play games, and memorize Bible verses. The vast majority of the knowledge I have about the actual words written in the Bible as an adult came from my time spent in the AWANA program as a kid.


(There was a season of time when I was an AWANA leader, but then I got pregnant with Tres. The combination of pregnancy and being surrounded by children who wanted to pet me with regularity was not good. I found someone to replace me and turned in my AWANA shirt with few regrets.)


This year we decided to sign the girls up. They started this fall not knowing a single person except each other and I was nervous about how they would enjoy the experience.


Within two weeks they were thanking me for “letting” them be in AWANA because they loved it so much and Uno was plotting ways to earn more shares. They earn the shares with participation in the various activities and get to use their shares on store night to “buy” prizes.


As I mentioned, tonight was store night.


Both of the girls came home high as kites toting bags of goodies.


When the kids get really wound up I get really cranky. When they’re excited they’re noisy, they don’t think straight and typically something gets destroyed or someone gets hurt. So I frown upon giddiness in general. (Bah, humbug.)


Store night had all the makings of a perfect storm of domestic disaster; they got home past bedtime, all hyped up from buying stuff with their shares and scarfing pieces of Laffy Taffy. I was nervous.


But as Lizard and I sat watching them pull out their treasures of share-bought goodies I couldn’t get over their happiness. Their smiles made my heart skip a beat because they were so pure, so precious, so genuine…


I starkly realized their treasures were contained in plastic grocery bags full of sticky hands, ring pops, bubble gum and parachute man figurines… but those precious smiles and small bodies wrapped up my earthly treasure.


I love them so much! I am so overwhelmingly proud of them – they’re really neat, funny kids.  It’s a blessing to feel that way about your offspring!


Before we started our family, Lizard and I would question if it was wise to have children. (Besides arguments about carbon footprints and population density, we look around and see evidence the pillars of our world are crumbling.)


How, in good conscience, can you bring a loved child into an environment not only filled with joy but also with untold suffering? How can you take a risk that big, to become responsible for someone other than yourself?


Here’s what we decided, and here’s what I caught a glimpse of in our kids’ precious enthusiasm tonight: they may not be better off for living in this world… but I do believe this world will be better for them living in it.


And that, all sarcasm and dry observational humor aside, is a pretty special thing.


Have you questioned whether to have children?



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One thought on “Little Sparklers

  • December 4, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Well said JJ!


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