How many of you can remember this day? Either as a parent or as a child you have more than likely experienced the joy AND panic of . . . the day the training wheels came off.
In our nursery rooms, we have a few little riding toys that are close to the ground, very stable, and easy to maneuver. Even the youngest toddler can find a way to mount one of these toys and scoot around the floor. There is no need for fear. Just lots of fun scooting around the room.
Very soon, however, legs get too long and the close to the ground scooting toy isn’t nearly as fun or exciting. It’s time to move up to the tricycle!
Teaching our little preschool children how to pedal and steer is the next obstacle to clear. Trikes are fairly stable, unless you’re Ramona Quimby.
However, with time, our little ones learn to pedal, learn to steer and they begin to gather more and more confidence as they ride their three-wheeler.
Just blink a couple of times and before you know it, those legs have grown again and our little ones desire something a little more challenging. They are ready for a bigger bike.
Not so fast though! That big bike is fun and all, but our little ones haven’t quite mastered the whole balance thing yet. Ah…..yes! Training wheels!! What a great invention!
As our little ones continue to mature, they can do so with the confidence that comes with a little help in the form of balance control. Two-wheelers are a little more exciting. They can go faster, but with control.
It’s the same with our little ones in ministry. Early on, we just start dipping their toes in the water by having them sing a few of the songs, clap along, and watch Ollie. Our little toddlers have started moving their chairs towards the video as soon as they hear the First Look music start playing. We know they don’t understand everything, but they are still learning.
As soon as they turn two, they graduate to their “trikes”—the preschool hall. They start to participate in the worship time and begin to respond to the Ollie video. They can start doing a few of the games and crafts.
Each year as they move through our preschool ministry, they begin to develop more and more. Five-year-olds start coming up to the stage to help with worship. The questions they ask get harder and harder. They begin to share more of what is going on in their lives.
And, just like proud parents, we watch with wonder and joy as the training wheels are removed and they fly down the hallway with huge grins on their faces—ready for the next step in their journey.
You have been faithful Preschool Leaders. You deserve to watch proudly as your five-year-olds graduate to elementary ministry. You have helped prepare them for what is coming, and you can enjoy watching them ride off on their big two-wheelers.
Get your trikes ready, though! The next group is on their way!