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The Sunday a Kid Got Cussed Out at Church by a Puppet

Yes, it happened at a church where I was leading the children's ministry.

A kid got cussed out.  And it was my fault.

Here's how it went down.

We had built a portable puppet stage and placed it in the main hallway in the kid's ministry building.

The puppet stage had a front window that the puppet came out of.  Before and after services, we had someone in the stage with a puppet.  There was a curtain in the window.  You couldn't see through the curtain looking in, but the person behind the curtain could see through and interact with the kids.

It was a big hit.  Before and after services, kids and their parents would surround the puppet stage and interact with the puppet.  The puppet would tell jokes and talk to the people watching him.

Things were going really well.  We had some great puppeteers who would take turns in the puppet stage.  Kids were laughing.  Parents were smiling.

That is, until the puppet cussed a kid out.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A puppet cussed out a kid at church.

Here's how it went down.  There was a teenage boy that asked about joining the puppet crew.  He was
faithful in his church attendance as he came with his parents.  He was good kid and wanted to serve and make a difference.

When I met with him about serving in this capacity, he demonstrated his "puppet voice" to me and it was amazing.  He could turn his voice into a cartoon sounding voice.

And so I said yes.  He could start serving a shift in the puppet booth.  I put him in the booth and watched as He started interacting with the kids and families.  They liked him.  A crowd would gather around the puppet booth when he was there with his funny, cartoon voice.

But then something happened.  It was a busy Sunday.  Lots of kids and families were stopping by the puppet booth to interact with the puppet.  In the midst of the crowd, was a boy who wanted to get closer to the puppet.  He slipped under the stanchion controls we had in place and started grabbing and yanking on the puppet's legs and arms.

Before I could stop the child from torturing the puppet, the puppet exploded in anger.   And then it happened.  The puppet started cursing the kid out.  He yelled out...

"Hey you little brat.  Back up and get the h#ll away from me."

People gasped and I was one of them.  I quickly escorted the child back to the right side of the stanchions and  I removed the cursing puppet from the crowds sight.

Needless to say, it was a very embarrassing moment.  But I had no one to blame but myself.  I had not taken the necessary time to walk the new volunteer through the role and set clear expectations...which should have included what to do or say when a child, out of curiosity, starts pulling on the puppet's legs and arms.

Yep.  It was on me.  I had not properly trained the new volunteer on what to do and say when a child starts yanking on the puppet.

Can you relate?  Have you ever brought a new volunteer in and shoved them in a room and with your actions said, "Good luck with all that?"

It is critical that new volunteers receive the proper training for the role they are starting.  And that's on you and me.  And when we don't follow the proper steps and training timeline, a puppet might just go off on someone.

Give all volunteers the training they need, so they can bless kids instead of cussing them out.   

Your turn.  Have you ever not provided a new volunteer with the training they needed?  What happened as a result?  Share your insight, stories and ideas in the comment section below.

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Published inchildren's ministryDaily Devotionkids and parentspuppets at churchvolunteer trainingvolunteers

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