COLUMN: A theory about kids and energy

Last week I experienced (endured, underwent?) an annual tradition at Christ’s Church on the River, and many other churches, called VBS. For those of you who don’t know VBS stands for Vacation Bible School. And it’s something else!

Vacation Bible School began in Hopedale, Illinois way back in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. The first Bible school enrolled forty students and lasted four weeks.

In 1898 Virginia Sinclair Hawes, director of the children’s department at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an “Everyday Bible School” for neighborhood children during the summer at a rented beer parlor in New York’s East Side. Gradually this morphed into Vacation Bible School and by 1922 Standard Publishing produced the very first printed VBS curriculum. Enough material was provided for a five-week course for three age levels.

If you want to see true horror on someone’s face, just tell anyone involved in a VBS today that it’s going to last for five weeks! But beware, as they might have a stroke or heart attack shortly thereafter!

The end result of all of this for me was near total exhaustion. Mind you I didn’t really have a job to do at VBS. Every year I am, what I like to call, “a floater.” I call myself this because it sounds so much better than “loafer” or “King of the Goof-Offs.” I’m there to do anything that needs to be done and to provide some security as well. Kids have a tendency to run off, run into traffic, run into each other, walls, chairs, decorations… well you get the idea.

VBS added about 3 hours to my day for just five days – and it drained me! Saturday morning I got up at 5 a.m., slapped my backpack on and couldn’t even do seven of the ten miles I wanted too. I was listless, achy, and in general not only felt my age but felt like a guy more than my age who was trying to catch the flu or something.

Ridiculous right? So why and how did this happen? What on earth takes place at a VBS that could cause the premature aging of an otherwise healthy human being? There’s only one answer, my friends, and it’s not a good one. This may shock you, but, if you think about it, you will not only conclude that I’m right, but that you’ve known this all along:

Children are energy vampires!

There, I said it. Adults, older ones especially, are always talking about how much energy children have. The old ones sit and watch the young ones, laughing, running, jumping, and bounding around with seemingly endless energy. They say, “Where does all that energy come from? I sure wish I had some of that energy.”

Well you do, they just stole it from you. This explains why when your kids or grandkids go to sleep you feel a tremendous sense of relief and exhaustion. Through some as-yet-undetermined process, children are able to suck large amount of adult energy into their little bodies and then use that to power themselves. Apparently, they can only take a certain amount. I don’t believe they can suck you dry and kill you, but I could be wrong about that so be careful.

About now some of you are asking how I know this since I’m not a parent. By the way – as I had to explain to a young lady in my neighborhood who was puzzled when I said I had no children – no, I don’t have any grandkids either! (I didn’t even try to explain the biology of all that to her!) So how do I know?

Because I’ve been in the ministry for 43 years now and so have spent a large amount of time around other people’s children. I’ve watched how children just go, go, go until all of a sudden, they just stop, plop and pass out.

No, they haven’t been drinking, they just reached their limit on how much energy they can syphon from the adults around them and so they crash and sleep. Later they will awaken, you’ll have fresh reserves of energy, and they’ll begin stealing it all over again.

This ability apparently ends somewhere around puberty. You can see this in many teenagers who seem to have much less energy than they did a scant few years earlier. I suppose we should feel sorry for them as now they have to face the world – or taking out the trash or whatever – with only their own energy supplies and can’t steal anyone else’s! This actually explains a lot about teenager behavior when you think about it.

I grant you I can’t prove this – yet. What I need now is a whole lot of grant money, probably from the federal government, so that I can do a study on this and prove how true my hypothesis is.

Until that happens I’ll just leave you with this warning – watch the kids and protect your energy!

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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

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