Getting Hammered in Sunday School

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.


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