If you were to just look at the pictures of last week’s drive-in service which offered stations rather than a ‘park & stay’ it’ll look like we didn’t follow the rules or protocols, but we did. It’ll look like kids were on top of each other, but they weren’t. It’ll look like we had kids and cars moving at the same time, but our parking lot guards (and we had lots of them) blocked off with orange barrels and their own vehicles to be sure even how vehicles parked were the safest way possible for little people. It’ll look like kids and adults were everywhere, but entire families ran the stations, so there are kids under the tents and on the other side of the yarn tied as a boundary around three sides (which look invisible in the pictures) to keep others outside the tents for proper social distancing. We only used tables for one station offering more distance and that station leader wore a mask.

We painted the parking lot with watered down tempera (which fully washed off after the second rain the following week, but I wished it didn’t because it took more than three hours to put it there and it was awesome.) We used glass rather than plastic coca-cola bottles for the science experiments, because they were cheaper and heavier to stay upright on the ground. We used salad spinners for the spin art, but wiped off each spinner with Lysol wipes after every child touched them along with the pool noodles for the water balloon station. There were Lysol wipes (stocked-piled and provided by a generous family) at every station and used after every child touched anything. Some kids, parents, and grands wore masks, but most didn’t. The station leaders basically ‘restocked and chatted a few steps back’ as each station was kid-directed rather than leader-directed. There was a dog…it’s a therapy dog.

There was so much that took place at the last ‘Jesus is different so we are different’ drive-in service which could never be seen by a photo:

  • Space for parents/grandparents to verbally process in community the public announcement made that very morning about county schooling choices for the upcoming year.
  • Space for me to greet each family with, “How was your last week?” and hear that a mom’s dad had a stroke and this is one time each week they can forget what’s happening in the world and just play.
  • Space for some parents to just be dad or mom and not wear their vocational uniform which makes being in public with their family uncomfortable.
  • Space for a mom to share her story of the challenge of celebrating Father’s Day when the typical dad is not present, which I would’ve never known.
  • Space for dads to chat with other dads about college football and car troubles and super-soakers and for families to invite their cousins and their grandparents.
  • Space for other kidmin leaders to bring a family’s kids from her church to give a set of parents a desperately needed break.
  • Space for boys and girls to be rough…and loud….and messy…and soaked…and laugh.
  • Space for five new families to come who probably heard about it through the Food Share line on Fridays or MUST summer lunch program on Wednesdays without being interrogated with, “How did you hear about us?”, but rather, “Hi! My name is DeDe. Tell me about your family.” #dignity 

The photos won’t show any of this, so please refrain from making assumptions. The other thing you won’t see by the photos? The capes worn by every leader and every parent/grandparent present because these are the superheroes in our kid’s lives pointing them to Jesus every single day.

“Courage gives us a voice and compassion gives us an ear. Without both, there is no opportunity for empathy and connection.” Brene’ Brown