The Triumphant Return of Silly John


Last week a friend of mine asked if I was willing to speak at a local schools Elementary Chapel, and one of her biggest selling points was, “you get to be Silly John!”

She used this as the basis of her argument since she is one of the few adults who has ever seen “Silly John”, and knew how much I enjoy being that way.

Experience has taught me there are many different roles (positions) a person has to take when working with children. The specific role in each situation is decided by things like the amount of children in the room, their behavior, and what’s expected of you.  Because of this I have created different mindsets for specific situations, and jokingly refer to them as alter-egos. Some of my favorites are.

  1. Mr. John: My role when leading a group of children (emphasizes being their friend)
  2. Mr. Wilburn: My role when teaching or tutoring a child (emphasizes their understanding material)
  3. Mean John: My role when children are out of control (also called Sheriff John)
  4. And Silly John: My role when teaching younger children (emphasizing stories or entertainment [1])

As you can imagine Silly John just gives me an excuse to be loud and goofy. In other words it’s lots of fun 🙂

So last Wednesday I came and shared my calling to Australia with boys and girls from Kindergarten to thirdgrade. As much as I loved sharing the burden God has placed upon my heart, my favorite part was the question and answer session during which Silly John was in full effect [2].

This was especially enjoyable because I usually don’t share my silly side anymore. Normally Silly John is crammed into a box in the corner of my mind since there are so many other things that need to be dealt with.

  1. Discipleship of Believers
  2. Working on Visa Paperwork
  3. Teaching children
  4. Development or material and writing
  5. Not to mention the normal drama of life

Bottom line…I’m just too busy for Silly John

The truth is even if there is time for me to be silly I rarely do it because adults are supposed to be responsible and hardworking instead of goofy [3].

Leaving the school with a huge inflatable kangaroo under my arm and drenched in sweat [4] I couldn’t help but have a massive smile on my face since being silly was so much fun. Yet while stuffing the kangaroo in the back of my truck part of me thought “okay it’s time to stuff Silly John back in his box too.”

As I started to make myself “more serious” a thought occurred to me…there is a place in life for silliness.

Of course it would be wrong for me to act like a ten-year old all of the time. But isn’t taking that goofy part of my personality given to me by God and continually beat it into submission wrong as well?

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be Silly John for about a half hour last week because it reminded me of some very important truths.

  1. God uses silliness [5]
  2. The world needs silly people
  3. And being silly is just plain fun 🙂

Last Wednesday has led me to be looking for strategic opportunities to unveil Silly John. I can’t promise you will see him, but I can promise you one thing. If you do see him…you won’t forget it.

  1. Silly John works very will with kindergarteners since they have short attention spans  ↩
  2. I particularly enjoyed it when a kindergartener with an incredibly serious face asked me if Santa came to Australia…and of course I said yes  ↩
  3. most adult’s who have witnessed Silly John (like my friend) only saw him because I was working with children at the time  ↩
  4. being Silly John is very hard work  ↩
  5. I’m referring here to controlled silliness that uses opportunities God gives to be silly  ↩

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