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The True Meaning of VBS

The True Meaning of VBS

It’s that time of year again. Summer is upon us, which means one thing: The kids are back. Full-time. With us.

Now, if you are a Southern mama, you are likely well acquainted with the single greatest summertime tradition since homemade ice cream and screened in porches. It’s the one thing that can save mothers everywhere from a slow and painful summer.   –  V.B.S.

VBS…aka “Vacation Bible School”, that fabulous four to five day program at churches all over the city where kids from all walks of life are not only welcome, but wanted!

And it’s FREE!

It’s sorta like the scene on Black Friday.

[pullquote type=”1″ align=”right”]We’re not playing games here. We NEED our kids to beat the throngs of hopefuls.[/pullquote]Mothers have been researching and planning and searching out the best way to maximize the VBS experience over those long summer days. They’ve spent hours on the internet looking up every church within a 30 mile radius.  I’ve even heard of moms who drop their children off at one church from 9-12 and then have them in an evening VBS program at a different church.

Hey, you can never learn too much about the Bible, right?

Registration finally opens, and all heck breaks loose.  Now, some churches have wisely and quite conveniently switched to online registration.  Sometimes we stay up all night just to make sure we’re first in line to pre-register our kids.  It’s like when we went to some huge university and had to call to register for the classes we needed and had to have the number on speed dial or it would fill up before we even got through on the line.

But other churches have not made it quite so easy for us and require us to register our darlings in person. We try to remember we are southern ladies and be polite, but this is a serious mission for us. We’re not playing games here.  We NEED our kids to beat the throngs of hopefuls. We MUST get them registered and secure their spots.

The Sweet Sounds of VBS

Some of you mothers (and you know who you are) have become quite skilled at the VBS game.  You have your kids signed up at half a dozen different churches.  This is no time for concerning ourselves with little details like theology.  Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Presbyterian…hey, they’re all about Jesus at the end of the day, right?

And when the kids are all registered and t-shirts ordered, mom breathes a sigh of relief.  She walks calmly past the long line of frazzled looking women and feels pity for these poor souls.  Clearly some of them will be turned away.  There are just too many. She smiles to herself as she considers what she’s just ensured: at LEAST 15 hours of free time over five days while her kids are being taught about Jesus and having fun.

Let’s be honest, those of us who have been involved with VBS for some time now…sometimes we want to lie about our spiritual gifts when it comes to volunteering to help.

This year I really wanted my spiritual gift to be serving snacks to the adults.  Or I could be the sound tech in back of the auditorium.  Or even the person who unlocks the building each morning.  I’m pretty good with a set of keys.

Those lovely (and lucky) snack ladies

But for heaven’s sake, I can’t exactly lie when it’s for a church sponsored event, now can I?

So I fessed up to it again…I’m a teacher.

I’m the one who must figure out how to compete with events like recreation and craft time and snack time.  I must do it well or it will be total pandemonium in that room.  I might blow it and reveal my mean mama side if I don’t play my cards right and have a good lesson ready with lots of activities and excitement.

And of course the Holy Spirit helps, too.

But back to the point here…it’s not difficult to spot the kid whose mother is desperate for some place to take her. She’s the little darling who smacks you hard on the butt the first time you meet her and demands a piggy back ride up the stairs to the craft room.  She has this high-pitched giggle which you learn to dread because it means you’ll find another poor VBS kid has been the victim of a swirly or has been attacked with the glow stick she got during Bible story time.

This is the kid who asks to go to the bathroom so she can make her way to the missions offering basket and scrape a few dollar bills and quarters together to stuff in her pocket. This is the one whose mother just smiled and gave a very perky little wave as she walked out the door to her car and the next three hours of freedom for five whole days.

 So VBS.

I think it could also very accurately and appropriately be an acronym for two things, depending on which role you find yourself in this summer.

For those moms who have played the game skillfully, it could stand for  – “Very Beneficial Situation”.

For those of us who wear the lime green t-shirt and spend our days with the little boy who doesn’t seem to understand it’s not cool to give wedgies, VBS could quite easy stand for – “Valium Beckoning Situation”.

So, who knows of a church hosting next week?

[box type=”warning”] ***DISCLAIMER:  I love teaching VBS. I really do. And I haven’t encountered any little darlings this year who fit the description of the fictional child described below.  Some may have come close, but that’s not the point here…it’s delightful and I’m glad to get to be a part of it.  The best kind of humor is the kind that mixes some elements of truth with slight exaggeration, right?***[/box]


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