The world has changed, and I have some thoughts on parenting through this which I would like to share.
The church that my family belonged to had a major rift about the time I wrote my last blog entry. We chose to leave that church because it wasn’t the right place for our children. We visited and settled into another church, but it too was a poor fit. We joined a third, a Methodist church with plenty of children and family activities where our children could grow in their faith. Suddenly the membership started to decline and the remaining members started fighting about homosexuality. (More on that another day.) Then we joined the Church of the Nazarene, simply because our friends attended. It was too conservative for us, but it didn’t matter because this was turning into an old country song full of woes – everybody left again and then the pandemic hit.
We tried attending on Zoom, but my eleven and thirteen year old children complained, then fell asleep on the couch. I have never met a pastor who could make the right message for everyone in the congregation at once, including the children, and preaching remotely on the pandemic was no exception. So, I let them sleep. (I wonder why there are so few children in churches? Maybe I should ask a preacher.)
I found some messages on Youtube and compiled family church. My children complained and watched the clock, which aggravated me because I put hours into preparing for this. (Sorry Preachers, for complaining to you in previous paragraph.) Youtube is always risky. The ads, the suggested suggestive videos… Pentatonics Hallelujah is not a worship song by the way. When we got to the line, “she tied me to the kitchen chair,” my family shared a very awkward moment while I fumbled for the remote.
In my opinion, it’s time to evolve. Church is open, but it’s not the same, and probably never will be. I must keep my objective in mind. I am trying to raise children with big hearts for Jesus and their neighbors. I was raised with beautiful traditions, but like parasols and hoop skirts, those are gone with the wind. (No kids, I’m not that old. It’s just a metaphor.) I must make a plan that suits the needs of my children.
I know forcing tweens and teens to participate in Zoom meetings will not work. I know worshipping in the living room is not working for my kids. Since we have to do school at home, I signed my children up for a Bible class on-line. They don’t want to do this either, but I told them it is a part of a basic education and one cannot intelligently make a judgement on that which one does not understand. In other words, learning about the Bible is just part of life. Once you learn about the Bible, Kids, you can make some intelligent decisions about how you want to proceed with your faith life from there.
In all our church hopping and time spent in dying churches, our children have not received a basic foundation in Bible 101 and Christianity. Letting go of control is hard. I could to force them to be a part of my faith, but their hearts won’t belong to it. Maybe this way I can give them the tools to grow their own faith.