Test Run: A Mother’s Day Project


A Mother’s Day Project

With much trepidation, I pressed the “submit” button on an order of silk scarves. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea: spending so much money on a single art project. What if it didn’t work? What if it did work, but required more time than we have? What if it created a giant mess and instead of making lovely gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day, I sent home a passel of children stained and marked? “Here, Mom. . . for Mother’s Day I made you more laundry to do!”  

We’re a small church. A Mini-church if you will (a mini-church in a huge building and oh the stories!) — so my Sunday School class consists of children ages 5-13. On the one hand, I love it. Our conversations are varied. There is a balance between older kid and younger kid energy. I think it’s a great opportunity for siblings to interact: a chance for older children to assume leadership roles. 

But on the other hand, it drives me crazy. Finding projects that a 13 year old boy would want to do that a 5 year old can do. . . means lots of hours on the internet researching. I don’t even watch TV any more. I listen to it: while I dig through my online resources, looking for the right projects. I’m constantly pinning ideas for the future: my eyes always searching for just the right thing that will speak to every kid the ultimate truth I want them to glean: YOU ARE LOVED… and isn’t Sunday School cool?!

So, when I stumbled on a tutorial for dyeing silk using sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol I immediately pinned the idea. Hello Mother’s Day! (and um, hello gift that any mom would WANT!) And then I researched every tutorial out there on the subject. And then I asked a friend who dyes things for a living for help. You know, just to make sure. Could we do this in 50 minutes? What kind of silk should I order? Do you think I’m crazy to try this??

For me, these projects not only serve to reinforce the message. . . and give the kids opportunities to learn by doing (instead of just talking at them!)– these projects serve as a ministry opportunity beyond the message. Public schools are cutting art programs as funds dwindle. Time to do those projects has been greatly diminished with the ever growing perception that our children are falling behind the world in the areas of math and reading. So, out goes the play. Out goes the paint. In comes more testing. 

Which makes me ask the question, “If the Church is to speak to the needs of people today. . . well, what are those needs?” In the case of children, I would strongly suggest those needs include playing and creating. If I can, once a week, provide an opportunity to do so and tell them all the same that they are LOVED LOVED LOVED just as they are — it’s a no brainer, right? Challenges aside, it’s worth the effort if these children (be it 15 on a good day or 3 on a quiet day) can learn and explore and create!

The above photo is a test run. Geo wanted to try and I figured, why not? If the 16 year old can do it and love it, then it’s golden. Right? The project has ticked off all my boxes so far — I’m crossing my fingers on the rest. I’ll post photos and tips next week after we do the project on Sunday. But in the meantime, I thought you’d like a sneak peek into what constitutes my creative process these days.