April 23, 2009

Science Fair

As everyone knows, pastors only work one day a week. Some of us are even lucky enough to be able to squeeze it down to a half-day on occasion. This may sound like the ideal job, but let me tell you, it does have its drawbacks.

My youngest son brought home a note from school yesterday. It said: "Dear Mr. Bradfield, Thank you so much for agreeing to be a judge for the school science fair. Please come to the auditorium on Thursday [that is, today] at 8:55 a.m. for an in-service on how to proceed with judging. Bagels, juice, and coffee will be provided."

First of all, what's with schools and strange times? Nothing in a public school ever starts on the hour.* And secondly, I don't drink coffee.

I would have thought that having my son participate in the science fair with a project of his own would have disqualified me from being judge. However, some people think that, because I'm a pastor, I'll be fair and unbiased. Which of course, I am. You don't have to be biased to know that my son's project will outshine them all. Especially since I spent a good part of the past few days working on it with him.

Perhaps I'll show up a little late. Enjoy my cup of tea at home first. Besides, I don't need an in-service on how to judge. I already know what my judging criteria will be. Does it look like a project the kid did, or one that the parents did for him? If it appears that the kid's parents did most of the work--or at least, a greater percentage of the work than my own kid's parents did--then points will be deducted.

Yes, that's right: my own kid's project is the judging criteria.

My son reported today that a few kids brought their projects in early. One is presented on a poster-board that features a (gasp!) white background. The instructions sent home clearly state that the background should be non-white. With titles that are 3 inches tall, and subtitles that are 1 inch tall. With photos, charts and diagrams that are glued onto the display board, not taped or stapled or clipped.

Everyone knows that when it comes to science fair projects, science doesn't really matter. What really matters is the number of glue sticks one uses. My own son went through three glue sticks this week, and I had to buy extra ink cartridges for the printer because it took us too many tries to get the letters the right height. Clearly, we--I mean, he--is going to win.

In the evening, all the parents will be able to view the science fair projects at the school's annual open house. I'll be there, of course, with a proud smile on my face; and I won't even worry about the elders' meeting I'm missing. After all, I've already put in my half-day this week.

*Never mind the fact that the church I pastor has worship services that start NOT at 10:00 or 11:00, but 10:15.


Adam Gonnerman said...

Back when I worked with a church in New Mexico (the bad old days) I put in over 50 hours a week. So I get that you are speaking with tongue in cheek.

I'm glad I haven't been asked to judge any of my kids' school activities. I've sort of wished they'd have a real science fair, but then I remember all the work that would have to go into it. I'm actually looking at doing some science projects at home with them.

Who knows, maybe I can get them interested.

jo(e) said...

The main thing I remember about the science fairs we used to have in elementary school were the stern lectures about how terrible it would look to have tape showing.