This post is about Christian religious beliefs & parents partnering with the church. I think if you are not a Christian, there will still be some valuable points you can take from this post, but wanted to put this at the top to let you know what you were getting yourselves into! :)
Do you believe your child's spiritual growth is your responsibility? Is it your responsibility to teach your child your religious beliefs or does that belong to the church? If you are a regular attender that never misses a Sunday and Wednesday night, the church maybe has 3 hours a week of time with your kids. Compare that to the amount of time you, as a parent spend with your child... Especially if they are not school aged and you stay at home like I do! Um... that's a lot of hours!
As a mother or father, we hold the most influence over our children. The first 5 years, we are all they know (basically). We are all they depend on. WHOA! That's a lot of responsibility!!!
What do I do with that?!
I think one of the first things we need to do is evaulate our own relationship with Christ. Do you have one? Who is God to you? Do you have basic knowledge? Do you have a PERSONAL relationship? Do you live a life that honors Him? Do you love others, like Christ loves you? (If you don't, but would like someone to talk to I'd love to talk to you more about this! You can message me on my FB page here.)
My Story: HERE
Our children are always watching us. They say what we say, they do what we do, they watch what we watch, they treat others the way we treat others and usually they believe what we believe. Little copy cats they are! My whole life I believed I was a democrat because my parents were. I had no idea what that meant, but Yep! I was one!! (This is not a political post and I no longer know what my parents political views are.) Just saying, I had no idea what it was I was claiming for myself, but whatever my parents said I believed! My girls are (almost) 4 and 2 and man, they see everything I do, even when I don't know they are watching! I have to think twice what I say after stubbing my toe!
So just like my daughter learned to "big kiss" from watching Grey's Anatomy while we were, she has learned to pray and read her Bible by seeing us pray and read. The girls love listening to worship music or "church music" as Kairi calls it and she knows most of the songs. They hear what we have on in the car. Now I'm not a big fan of a lot of the kids sing a long songs, basically it makes me want to pull my hair out but I have several worship playlist of the songs we sing in church that I play in the car and love to hear them sing along. (Confession we also listen to other music too: Their favorite songs are: I'm Sexy and I know It, Single Ladies, and Pontoon ["Roller boatin'"] and Like a Lion.)
|All the Single Ladies Put your hands UP!|
The next step to do is to find a church that you can get involved in. One that has values and a vision that you believe in and want to be a part of. The church is there for us to serve like Christ served. Sure it helps to have a super awesome worship band and the best preacher that gives everyday applicable messages filled with God's teachings where you walk away "full"! But it also must have a place you can get involved. Where you can BE the church.
For the first several years after college, I helped in our church's high school youth ministry but then I had my first daughter and having a baby changes the amount of time you can give to teenagers: the slumber parties, their school and sports activities all started getting a lot harder to be a part of. I wasn't able to serve like I had been for the past few years and I was struggling with what to do.
Well, the leaders of our children's ministry had asked me to get involved in our children's program several times each year, but I would say, "NO WAY little kids aren't my thing." I loved my own, but there is something about other kids' snot that grosses me out! When Kairi was 2, I stopped helping with the high school girls and just found a couple other places in the church to volunteer but wasn't doing anything on Wednesday nights.
This past year I went to enroll the girls and Kairi's Cubbies class (Awanas) had so many 3, 4, and 5 year olds they needed help - crowd control. And the teachers, Mrs. Brenda & Mrs. Amanda, asked if I would be interested in helping. 'Um... no, but I'll help you find someone." What was I scared of? At that time, I was in a rut getting involved in things and committing to anything. I prayed about it and found that I didn't have a good reason to say no. I let them know later that night that if they still needed help, I was willing. WOW, God can do cool things when we say those words - "I am willing." I told them I did not want to teach, but I could help keep the kids quiet and take them down the hall to the potty, etc.
So that's a step. You don't have to be a Bible scholar and you don't have to put 30 hours a week of preparation work. You just have to be willing. Find an "entry level" volunteer position and get plugged in. One of those kinda comfortable, but yet out of your comfort zone places.
I have been helping in Kairi's class for 6 months now and I LOVE being a part of what she learns and does. She likes having mom there, too!! I know the high schoolers wouldn't necessarily agree with that! lol. So I get to hear what she learns about and we get to talk about it all the next week. I love hearing her tell her little sister about God. It's fun because I get to be a part of her class and get to know her friends. I still get to have influence over what she is learning and who she is "hanging out with". I am trying to help shape her character, her beliefs, and teaching her what wise decisions are. For in a few short months, I have to send her off to school where others will be in charge of her for 7 hours a day. I want to put as much positive influence into her before sending her out. (I'm sure I will do all that I can to stay involved in her PreK class too!)
You volunteering at the church in the children's wing is an encouragement to others. I know when I see other parents volunteering their time to teach my kids, to love them, and to be an example of Christ it is an encouragment to me. It is seeing Christ in action!
|Kairi's favorite teacher, Mrs. Brenda|
So even if you aren't able to be a volunteer in the class, get to know the teachers, read the papers that are sent home with the kids, ask what the lesson was about so you can continue learning about it that week. Read the Bible with your children. PRAY with your kids. There are so many options of partnering with the church to help your child's spiritual growth. I don't think it's that parents want to just drop their kids off for the "free baby-sitting" - ok well maybe sometimes after one of those rough days where a gallon of ice cream is the only thing that will do the trick... but I think a lot of times we just don't know HOW to do it. Ask your pastor, the youth pastor, the children's minister, anybody, ask: "How do I get involved?" Your church will thank you and so will your child!
Some days I'm beyond scared that God has chosen me to be Kairi and Brayce's mom. They are true gifts from Him. I know that they are His children and the responsibility of being a mom is overwhelming. I will do my best to raise my children to be good, Godly kids.