At this point, the only thing I want my kids to get out of going to church is that it is a loving and welcoming place. I love that they feel comfortable running around, talking with people of all generations, and are excited to see their friends there. It may not always be easy getting out of the house, but the coffee and sprinkle donuts help.
I am slowly introducing them to the church family through ways that are fitting to their energetic needs. When my son asks to come sit with me in worship, I am delighted and say “yes”! He picks up a bag of children’s activities, finds a seat near the front, and quickly gets settled. We make it through the announcements, music and he goes up for the Children’s time. I prep him for the Prayers of the People, as this past week I was leading them. I should have just taken him to the nursery during the songs, but I wanted him to see his Mom up in front, leading the prayer. I told him he had to be quiet as we would be praying, and that he could either stay in his seat or go up and hold my hand.
He was quiet, but decided to walk around and investigate various things up front. Thankfully most folks dutifully closed their eyes and bowed their heads, so I just continued to pray. No major harm done…but next time he is going into the nursery. Overall, it was good for him…and good to have the youthful activity during worship, but he just isn’t ready yet.
I’m one of those Moms who was so excited about their son’s request to participate that I forgot he is still a very energetic, imaginative and inquisitive child. His questions and vocabulary may be grown-up, but in the end his actions are still a chaotic expression of everything he is taking in.
For all those other Moms out there…we are in this together. I want to thank all the parents and others who provide words of support and understanding, with a smile. I cannot tell you how the loving kindness of strangers at various points over the last 4 years have been such a blessing. At those times when you just want to go crazy (or hide in the locked bathroom for a few minutes), honest words of understanding from another are a gift from God.
May we all be blessed with the kindness and presence of others during times trying to navigate this amazing and chaotic and confusing world, as God is present through others.