Home » I'm the victim of myself » Perhaps I should have considered a career in public speaking…NOT

Perhaps I should have considered a career in public speaking…NOT

Let me preface this post today by saying, there are a few things in this life that really I’m not the best person to take charge and do. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

Okay, enough sarcasm. The honest-to-goodness truth is: the words Vacation Bible School make me want to crawl under a chair, throw a blanket over my head and hide.

I know, I’m a wimp. However, a group of dozens of wild, screaming, energetic kids under the age of 10 scare me. It’s true.

But alas, one of the many things that have come up this year that I just couldn’t say no to was VBS or VBF as we’re calling it this year: Vacation Bible Fun!  Yeah, it was fun all right… For the little monsters! Only kidding. It wasn’t bad, nor did it go smoothly by any means, It was…different. Challenging. Overwhelming. And makes me want to run away and change my name just so I don’t have to keep going back all week. But I committed to it, so I will.

If anyone here has ever run such a chaotic program, take heart, I now understand your stress and why so many of the leaders look stressed and are singing the hallelujah chorus come Friday. Trust me, I get it now.

Yesterday, if there was any type of thing that could have gone wrong, it did. That’s where my wonderful public speaking skills (and improv) came into play.

See, to start with, we couldn’t get the  projector to work so cramming all four of us into the cab of my husband’s Dodge Dakota, we had to drive to and from the church in 100+ degree temperatures several times to pick up something else that I thought just might work. Now, why were we all crammed in there you ask? Don’t ask. It’s another long story. But in simple terms: I had a flat, our jack wouldn’t work, we had to call a tow truck to help us jack the car up and put on the spare. We got the car to the tire shop and what do you know, they don’t have the tire or any that will fit. So it’ll be a few days while they order it. Oh yay!

Only 30 minutes before the program begins, we get the projector to work…oh, but the mouse isn’t working! Not only is the mouse not working, but I left the CD that has the lyrics to all the little songs at home in my laptop, which was the first machine I tried to hook up to the projector.

I was able to call someone about the mouse, but still no lyrics. That’s okay, VBF songs are supposed to be fun and catchy, surely we’ll learn the words after a verse or two. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. First off, in all the worry over getting the computer to work with the projector and a mouse to play the CD with, I forgot to even think about speakers. Seriously. So while someone is on the hunt for speakers I have to sing. Now, everyone can sing, but should they? Absolutely not. I’m one who can but probably shouldn’t. Nonetheless, I belted Jesus Loves Me like there was no tomorrow. This wasn’t done, however, to help encourage the kids but to block out their screams at my awful voice.

We get speakers and sound, but no lyrics. Nor a catchy song.  Zap. The music ends, I read from a script paper and start singing again!

Fortunately, no technical errors happened with the next part, nor the games. Unfortunately, someone who was supposed to do an act wasn’t there…and they had the script so there wasn’t a way I could just grab another adult and read it. After much fear and calling a slew of people from the church who might have their telephone number, I got in touch with them just as they were pulling into the church parking lot. Perfect timing.

The entire night of leadership and program guiding was chaos on my end, giving me a whole new respect for teachers and people who’ve done this kind of program for year. As for me, I shall flee the scene the next time I see someone headed my way with a VBS flyer in hand. Coming up with things to talk about on the fly, singing songs at the top of my lungs and being asked how Adam and Eve’s kids had babies by a ten year old (seriously) is not my forte.

I do have to give credit where it’s due, however. Though there was A LOT of last minute changes in plans going on, the kids did really well moving from activity to activity and not going nuts in between.

How about any of you? Have you ever agreed to do something not realizing how much work it was only to have chaos ensue?

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29 thoughts on “Perhaps I should have considered a career in public speaking…NOT

  1. OMG! What a comedy of errors, Rose! I’ve been “recruited” in situations like that before, but I was always lucky enough to have a few other adults to rely on for help when (not “if) things went wrong. My hubby thinks I should become a teacher, but I shudder at the thought because I just don’t think I could do that every single day. I have a great respect for my youngest son’s teachers–they have a lot more fortitude than I do!

    • I do have adults to help, but I did a poor job of planning it. I didn’t get a lot of commitment and some who committed never showed, so it’s fallen to more responsibility to those who are there.

      My greatest respect for teachers comes in the form of Kindergarten teachers. Yikes! That is a job I could never do. Never, ever.

  2. My husband and taught Kindergarten Sunday School year before last–just one Sunday a month–but one Sunday, they had to combine classes because a teacher didn’t show up. So we had like 24 kids at one time. It was nuts!!

    • Yikes! It’s one thing to kind of know before hand that you’re going to have a large number and be ready for it but it’s quite another to have them sprung on you like that. I take it you didn’t accept the position to teach that Sunday School class again.

  3. Justblast night I agreed to help the middle school music long term sub. I’ll let you know how it pans out. No, I have no formal music background, only church choir experience. Shoot me now.

    • That is hilarious! I’m sorry, but it is. I have no musical abilities whatsoever so in my mind I am imagining the worst. That being said, I’ve seen the movies you post on FB sometimes and I think you’ll do a great job!

      • MzzRose, you are too kind. If you noticed, though, the videos were of kindergarteners to 6th grade. In most of these cases, I was taller than they were and they thought I was also smarter. I’ve been known to single-handedly organize and direct 70 of them, including choreography.

        However, I think I’m in over my head with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders — one of them advanced band (the only instrument I play is my iTunes), which means THEY know what they’re doing and I don’t, and the other Music Appreciation, which means they’re only there because there were no other electives left. And all but 6 of the 120 I met today were taller than I…

  4. Oh yes VBS is pretty much organized chaos. I’m with you the thought of being in a room with a bunch of kids 10 and under makes me want to run for the hills as fast as I can. That’s why my boyfriend is a better person then I am. He is with 26 9 year olds all year. One week of VBS is enough for me.

    • There is a bit of a difference, albeit a small one, at VBF you can’t really punish kids or make them get “on task”. If they want to run wild, they will. All you can do is help to corral them. At least at school, he can give them more work or take away recess or even allow them to move onto something else if they’re bored (plus they’re all the same age not varied from 3 to 10). BUT, even so, I wouldn’t want to be with 26 nine-year-olds, either. I shudder just thinking about it.

  5. After I got a psychology degree, I was going to go into teaching but ended up getting married and having to move to another base when my husband got transferred. I was one year away from getting that teaching degree when it happened. God was looking out for me because now I know that I would have been a horrible teacher. It takes a special talent and ability to be able to work with kids and frankly, I don’t have it. My deepest admiration goes out to teachers. 😀

    l’m with you. A room full of kids is a scary thing. LOL

    • I wanted so desperately to be a teacher for years. A history or science teacher. Like you, fate stepped in and I couldn’t be happier that it did. I’ve always known that elementary school age was NOT a good age for me, but even so, I’m not sure that middle or high school would have fit me, either.

    • The same way mommies and daddies have them now. Then it was asked, but they were all brothers and sisters. Of course that was asked by a child who belongs to a family of seven, almost nine, and I can sympathize with the idea of it being yucky to marry a sibling, but I just wanted to glaze over that as quickly as possible.

      Now, if you’re truly interested in how this happens, I can tell you two things: 1. go read one of my books and many times the last chapter will fill you in OR 2. as I tell my kids, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, they lie really, really close together DOT DOT DOT.

  6. I was the leader for our daughter’s Camp Fire Girls and Girl Scout groups. Each time they were under the age of 10. I went to college for Education and Early Childhood Development. That being said, it was not always pretty and there were definite times that drinking looked like a very good idea. I never took it to heart, but it sounded pretty good. I can relate to the comedy of errors and have been in your shoes. All I can say is hang in there…it is only a week. IF there is a next time, offer to help someone else be in charge. Good luck and BREATHE deeply. Count to 50 or 100 lots and keep your sense of humor on your sleeve!

    • I teach a bible class each week and have for several years and I’ve been the leader of something similar to Campfire Girls. But this pack of kids, oh my lands, they were crazy!!

      I definitely had to count to 100 more than once!

  7. LMBO!! Sorry, not fair to laugh, I know. About 15 years ago I was working for our local school system as a substitute teacher. I also in our alternative school teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) The daytime ESL classes were mostly women and since my mother-in-law had had a bout with breast cancer, I thought it was a good idea to do a class on mammograms, SBE, some type of birth control, basically women’s health issues. I had it set up with my ob/gyn’s nurse practioner to come to the class and talk to them. I had all the papers they were going to need, we sent the men out and let everyone, even the younger girls going to alternative school we were doing this class.

    The room began filling up with women, the nun in charge of the ESL program was there, I was there, everything was ready to go except the NP. We waited for her until we couldn’t wait any longer and since this was my bright idea the nun in charge decided I knew enough on the subject to do it myself. Oh Heavens, this was NOT what I had in mind. I was going suppose to just sit back and listen and possibly answer some questions after the NP left not teach them. Yes, I worked as a sub, yes, I knew all about breast cancer from warning signs to treatments, I knew about birth control, but this was a class run by NUNS, how can you talk about birth control in front of a nun, specially when they know you are a catholic and shouldn’t be using any birth control? I was so in trouble.

    I did it though. I gave the talk about breast cancer, I talked to them about PAP smears and birth control. I urged them to talk to their daughters, I did all the things I thought the NP would do. And it turned out wonderfully! I would never have imagined it to turn out the way it did, but someone was watching over me that night.

    • I had to laugh at the birth control talk with a nun in the room but only because I had all sorts of mischievous thoughts running through my mind that I cannot voice here.

      I’m glad it all went well though and I’m sure the ladies who came to attend appreciated your speech.

  8. Many, many times, Rose. Something happened today at work, in fact, but it was easy to fix (I hope). Like you, I hate public speaking, and I really hate talking on the phone, especially if I have to confront someone. If I would have won that power ball jackpot, I was going to hire a secretary to take care of things like that for me.

  9. Next time when kids ask you about Adam and Eve’s children, totally deny that babies pop out from stomach or place-that-should-not-be-mentioned like me. I tell them that they were being too naughty in God’s Garden, so He sent them here to their parents who were asking for babies. 🙂

    • Fortunately, they abandoned that topic quickly enough. I do, however, tell my younger son that a doctor took a very sharp knife and cut him out of my stomach. Hey, it’s the truth–in a matter of speaking anyway.

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