God has recently taken me on a journey which began with a desire to see my two boys (aged 6 and 4) grow up to have a positive experience of God and a personal faith in Him. This was borne out of one overriding concern of mine….my boys don’t like church! We have visited a number of churches over the years and this dislike of church is most certainly not confined to any particular ‘type’ of church.
Understandably this concerned me. Whilst thinking and praying about this God reminded me of 2 boys whose family attended my church when I was in my late teens. These boys parents took the boys to church every Sunday morning and night. The problem was that the Sunday night service was not child friendly, it was aimed at adults. I have a vivid picture in my head of these two boys (who were probably similar ages to my children now) sat in church quite frankly bored out of their minds! I can imagine what they were feeling, that Sunday night feeling of dread as it was school the following morning. That feeling of boredom, and not wanting to be there! The problem is that what may well have happened with those boys is that those negative feelings become associated with God! We can all associate a song or a smell with a particularly happy or sad time. Associations can invoke powerful responses in us. For me the word Christmas fills me with delight, I can ‘feel’ the happiness, fun, laughter, good food, family time that this time of year brings for someone else this exact same word fills them with loneliness, sadness and dread! What I don’t want for my boys is the word ‘God’ to have negative associations. I don’t want the word ‘God’ to invoke feelings of boredom and frustration.
Around this time I read Michele Guinness’ book ‘The Heavenly Party’. In this fabulous book Michele talks about her move from the celebrations and parties that were part of her Jewish upbringing, and making the transition to a Christian faith, which to be frank at times can lack in the sense of celebration! Michele talks about her own desire to create a spiritual environment that nurtures not stifles a child’s faith. Providing something for our children that makes them want to turn off the TV/Wii/DS. She beautifully describes it as ‘providing a rich and colourful context within which faith can blossom’. This is what I want to create for my boys!
Michelle talks about bringing celebration and parties back into the home and community.
With this in mind I was on a mission! My husband and I decided that as well as the Church stuff we attend we would bring church to our home! On Sundays at tea time we have a nice meal, we eat in the dining room rather then the kitchen, we light candles, open the wine (for the adults!) the kids are allowed fuzzy drinks! We have our own celebration. We talk about what’s been good and bad about the week that’s gone, and what’s happening in the week ahead. We talk about any worries we might have. It’s a great opportunity to sit as a family, share and pray. Granted our kids are only little so often we have requests to pray for poo! We then read a short Bible story, talk about it briefly (David and Goliath…little people can do big things) then we put some kids worship songs on and dance around the dining room like complete idiots! The kids love it. What I hope is that when my Children think of God they think fun, love, security, good food, laughter and comfort. When I stand before God I will be responsible for my children’s spiritual growth. It won’t cut it to say that Sunday school didn’t relate to them, or the material that was used wasn’t great. It’s MY responsibility to ensure that my children grow up feeling Gods love. So mums out there join me on a journey of discovery. Let me know what you do at home, let’s share ideas and invest in our kids futures.