Its not uncommon that when people have children, they get a bit spiritual. Not just in the christening/baptism/dedication sense, but in a growing desire for some kind of spiritual roots. Chris and I are no exception to this, and being church leaders and all, Chris and I want to nurture our children in a Christian environment.Sunday School is an integral part of that, but we feel that primarily its our job to teach them .
I have high hopes. I imagine my children fervent in prayer on their cute little knees. I hear them singing sweet songs to Jesus, and understanding fundamental Biblical principles. Oh, their wisdom.Who knows maybe they’ll even have dreams and visions and prophecies from the very early days.
And then there is reality, which goes something like this:
We generally have two “expressions” of worship. A CD and a guitar.
The CD is called Worship Jams (Seriously?) – a full of worship songs that have been souped up in one way or another. Generally made faster, bouncier and all together more hyper. Reminiscent of the “Now That’s What I Call Music” (a dubious and destined to oversell/underdeliver title for a compilation series if ever I heard one) version of POP.
Zoe likes to be the DJ at these worship events, turning the CD on and off at any given moment and giggling. And bouncing. Tia dances and runs around the room, claps and jumps. Tia is quite into jumping off anything, especially if its high. So much of the worship time involves the words
“Tia get down!” and I am not talking about her dancing, though I’m proud to say she’s got the moves.
Sometimes Tia runs around the room shouting “Jesus!” and collapses in a heap laughing. Then when Zoe stops the music, Tia holds a pose.
Obviously we devout Christian parents sing along looking enthusiastic whilst trying to stop Zoe from breaking the CD player and Tia from breaking her legs. Requests for songs by Barney or the Wiggles are deferred.
Guitar – well the girls love the acoustic feel. Keep music live and unplugged, perhaps even a little unhinged too. Zoe loves the guitar so has decided she will play it with Daddy. So she bangs it and hits it. Dare I dare to steer her away from it, and its like dragging a teenager away from a boyband, all kicking and screaming. Who knew of the bodyguard skills necessary for the worship experience?
Tia loves the guitar, but is content to play on her drums as loudly as possible. Suddenly her face takes on a very serious expression. “Enough!” she cries “Stop!” Zoe, having found her way back to Daddy and his guitar is not listening. I await my little one’s revelation with baited breath.
Tia runs to the potty. “Got it.” she says.
A few moments later, she stands to her feet and exclaims
“I did it!!”
Clearly worship times can really build the self esteem.
We pray at meal times. We ask the girls to put their hands together as a sign that we are going to pray. You always know when you have gone on too long because you look down and see that the girls have started eating without you. Some days the hands only come together with a bit of pasta in them. But generally things run smoothly and Zoe screams “Ahhhmmmeeeeee!” at the end and the girls shout and cheer and whoop.
The special days are when we are eating with others. Chris and I pray and we end as we normally do by shouting amen and cheering and clapping. Only on these occasions, the girls just stare at us, as though we are doing something they’ve never seen before and are embarassed for us.
Now this we like to mix up a little. During advent, we had this advent calendar, and christmas tree ornaments of the Nativity (shepherds, star, angels, et al) and each day introduced a bit of the story and an ornament for the tree.
As far as the girls were concerned this was The Longest Story Ever Told. They were far more interesting in putting decorations on the tree and fighting over who got what. One evening Tia walked off in the middle of our God slot. She returned with her Children’s Bible storybook, handed it to us and said “Read it”. Nuff said.
We have these other books too. Right now Zoe and I are reading about the pig who shared his dinner with the Prodigal son. Zoe’s taught me that Pig quacks like a duck.
Tia and I end each night with children’s version of Ecclesiastes 3. The whole “there is a time for everything” bit. The time to live and a time to die has been exchanged (thankfully) for “A time to get muddy and squelchy, and a time to be clean and soapy”. How cute is that?
So this along with car rides singing along to Soul Survivor, Brenton Brown and Chris Tomlin (with homegrown actions), thankful prayers (thank you for my broccoli, for my pasta and for my potty, and for my other potty…) and bible stories told by Pigs (prodigal son) and Ducks(who found Moses) and Donkeys (carrying the good samaritan, or hanging out with Shrek depending on our kids’ moods) is our family spiritual life thus far!