I just finished planning a singing time lesson for Primary tomorrow. For those of you who don't know, Primary is Sunday school for little kids in our church, and right now every Sunday it's my job to spend about fifteen minutes teaching songs to the kids ages three to eight and then later another fifteen or twenty minutes with the kids who are nine to twelve. Some songs are reverent, like "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" and others are just for fun, like "Once there was a Snowman," which has actions with it and is the favorite Primary song of every little Mormon boy ever. Being Primary chorister takes work to prepare and come up with new, fun ideas to teach the words of the song but I still think I have possibly the best assignment in church. Play games with kids or go to adult Sunday school? Is that even a question?
One of my favorite parts of the calling is just being around the kids and hearing the (usually unintentionally) funny things they have to say. The youngest ones really aren't very good at censoring. During one of my first weeks of Primary someone was teaching a lesson about honoring our parents and asked the children to give examples of things they had done recently to make their parents happy. One of the very young, daintily feminine little girls raised her hand and announced proudly "I pooped in the toilet this morning and it made my mommy really happy." It was so unexpected coming from this particular child that all of the adult leaders burst out laughing and then had to work hard to get the giggles under control quickly and avoid making eye contact with each other for the next few minutes. Technically we are supposed to be the mature ones.
When you ask for an answer in Primary you never know what you're going to get. Sometimes the answer you get is even better than you could have articulated yourself and you remember that kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Other times you get an answer that is way off base or you pick on the kid who really, really, REALLY just wants to be picked every time and then says "Uh .... I don't know." And sometimes you get really specific "hypothetical" answers like the "It would be choosing the wrong if you didn't like spaghetti so you told your mom you ate all your spaghetti when she was in the other room but really you just dumped it in the garbage and then she found it and then you got in really big trouble and had to go to your room while everyone else ate ice cream." Fortunately for the family the spaghetti story was much less revealing of family secrets than some of the other things I've heard.
You also hear a lot of funny prayers as the little ones get to the point where they want to start saying them on their own without an adult whispering in their ear, but they don't have that polished air of someone who has given the opening prayer in a church meeting a hundred times. I laughed a couple of weeks ago when a little boy thanked God for several things and then said "And thank you for everything else. Except mayonnaise."
Watching the dynamics between Senior Primary boys and girls can be pretty funny too. They're at that stage where they've realized there's a difference between boys and girls but they're not quite sure what to do with that information yet. So the boys goof off with each other while occasionally looking over to see if the girls are paying attention while the girls roll their eyes and feel superior. I once sent a girl out of the room while someone hid something, and when I called after her "No cheating!" she turned around and with great indignity exclaimed "I'm not a boy!" Even the boys seem to feel the girls are superior: When I recently announced an activity I said "We'll make it a contest and see who knows the words better, boys or girls." Immediately three of the boys sighed and said at the exact same time "The girls."
See ... who wouldn't want to work in Primary? Sometimes we even have treats.