To use the parlance, I had some “joys and concerns” about this week’s Sunday School class. We use a curriculum called Toolbox of our Faith. Each week, the lesson learned is symbolized by a different tool. So far we’ve had magnifying glasses, chalk and mirrors; hardly “tools” as defined by my class of fourth and fifth graders. I read through the lesson plan Saturday night and was happy to see the tool for this week was a hammer, a metaphor for the appropriate use of strength and power.
Generally, the class is divided into parts. We sit in a circle and talk a bit, we pass around the tool of the week, sometimes we do some exercises together or listen to music and then I tell a story. The suggested exercises sounded like fun: build a human pyramid. I was also supposed to bring in enough hammers for the class along with nails and scraps of wood. I planned to add a moment to the syllabus to talk about shop safety.
The recommended song was – of course – If I Had a Hammer. Looking in my vast audio archives, I discovered three versions of the song to choose from. I had the Trini Lopez version. That was a hit back in the early sixties, but sounds a bit dated now. Completely opposite of that, I have a version by Leonard Nimoy, of all people (should have been called If I Had a Phaser). I ended up uploading the Peter, Paul and Mary version onto my iPod in lieu of one featuring Pete Seeger himself.
I walked into church as if I always carried in a bag of hammers. I also had a handful of nails and a pair of long wooden stakes. It might have caused a raised eyebrow or two in a Christian church, but UU’s are pretty laid back. I trekked down to my classroom and got set up. My iPod locked up as I was connecting it to the speakers. Nothing worked; I couldn’t get the shuttle dial to do anything, I couldn’t even shut it down. I’m used to Windows products crashing and have any number of ways to deal with that. I was stymied with the Apple product (I thought about hammering it all over this land, but decided against it). The parking lot was packed, but I ended up with just two students. The human pyramid was out the window. In the end, we talked a bit longer than normal and hammered several nails into the wood. I read a story about Millard Fillmore and learned he was a Unitarian, bringing my sum Millard Fillmore knowledge up to… one item.