This is a repost from last year, and I thought it was just about time to bring it out again!
If you are reading this, you probably know my views on giving excuses for your kids.
Especially when my kids were littler, I heard a lot of “they didn’t get their nap in”, or “they are hungry” or “they stayed up too late last night” as excuses for bad behavior.
Now. I am not saying there is not time for mercy and grace when it comes to your kids, but I definitely believe that falling into the trap of giving your children an excuse for every bad behavior becomes just that. A trap.
It doesn’t get any easier the older they get, so you may as well break the habit now!
The reason I am bringing that aspect of it up, is because I think a lot of what I see happening with kids in church (I am referring to any school aged child) begins with excuses parents are giving them.
They just can’t sit still.
They have a short attention span.
They didn’t have breakfast.
They were up too late last night…
And all of these things become excuses for either: why they can’t sit still and pay attention in church, or why they can’t go to church at all!
So many times, we are setting our kids up for failure without even realizing it!
Listen, I get it. I can’t sit still half the time, and I have a short attention span too. Chances are I did not skip breakfast, but I quite possibly could have missed my coffee, and I was most definitely up too late the night before.
It does not give me an out.
Stop looking for outs for your kids!
Your kids view of church starts with your view of church.
Think about that.
What do your kids think your view of church is?
Do they see it as a place you feel burdened to go to?
Do they see it as a place where you go and act like a fake once a week?
Do they see it as a place that you go as long as you are happy, but as soon as anything doesn’t please you enough you pick another church? Or stop going altogether?
Do they see it as the thing you do, only if there is nothing better going on?
Do they see it as a place you absolutely love going to?
Do they see it as one place you actually feel like you can be yourself?
Do they see it as a place that you go for what you can give, not what you can get? And a place you are going to be committed to…like a family?
Do they see it as the only option on a Sunday morning regardless of the good skiing specials going on, sports games or other events?
See the difference?
When I was growing up I am pretty sure we never missed a Sunday.
I never ever felt like I was forced to go to church.
My parents loved church.
They loved going.
We just knew what we were going do do on Sundays, no questions asked.
My husband grew up the same way.
Our parents had a proper view of the church:
Church is a place you go to serve and to grow.
A far cry from the average person’s view today!
The way you express your view will shape and form the view your child has.
A few tips to help your child learn the proper view of church:
1. Speak positively about going to church and spending time with your church family. I know there will be days when you are tired, it is cold and you don’t want to get out of bed. Life can be like that with any responsibility we have! Just be careful what comes out of your mouth in reference to that.
2. Refer to the church as “family” in front of your child. This will allow them to see what responsibility and accountability goes along with that. When you are a part of a family at home, you have chores and responsibilities. It is the same with a church family! You wouldn’t just walk out on your real family, you shouldn’t just walk out on your church family.
3. ONLY speak positively about church leadership in front of your kids.
If you feel the need to discuss problems and issues, do not allow your kids to be in the conversation. If you are putting down the authority of your pastor, do not be surprised when your children decide to disregard any or all of his teaching. A dangerous place to be, especially when my pastor is teaching purity, and honoring parents, and other things I want my children to be learning!
4. Make sure your kids are part of a ministry! We all need to serve, kids are not exempt from this! Riley is 11, and his ministry is to fill the cup of water for the Pastor when he preaches. Seems small, right? But he takes it seriously. He is filling a need, and he sees his value as a part of the family when he does his job. The body suffers when we are not all using our gifts to bring God glory. There is so much going on lately with churches being all about a spectator event. That is totally the wrong way of thinking. We were given spiritual gifts so we can serve the body of Christ with them. That is why God gave us gifts! If we are choosing to not use those gifts, it is disrespectful to the gift-giver.
5. Have your entire family following along in their Bibles and taking notes. I do not understand the thought process of allowing your child to sit there with his head down, or playing on his iPod during church, and not having his Bible open!! It is a place to learn and to grow.
I feel like this is telling your children – ok. Here’s the boring part, you can just play now!
I understand that there will be some parts of the sermon they may not understand. Perfect…it gives a chance to discuss more when you get home! (I have really enjoyed explaining what fornication, adultery and circumcision mean to my kids – haha!)
Most churches provide notes, but if your church does not, I created a couple versions to print off for your kids to use. You can download the older kids version here and the younger kids version here. Your kids need to have their Bibles open and be expecting to learn something that will challenge them and help them grow!
6. Speak the truth in your heart. I love this verse in Psalm 15:2 that says to speak the truth in your heart.
It’s totally killer.
How many times do I allow my thoughts to go towards negative and critical things?
Either about myself, or about others.
If I am speaking the truth in my heart, I will then be speaking the truth with my mouth.
If I am speaking the truth with my mouth, my kids will hear it and will be affected in a positive way.
Let’s be the moms that start a new trend.
A new trend of raising kids who love the body of Christ.
Imagine the difference it could make?
If we are expecting our kids to go though phases and stages of not wanting to please God, and not wanting to go to church, then ya know what? I think they very well may.
But. If I am expecting the positive in my kids, imagine the difference!
Let’s stick together and make going to church? the cool thing to do.
Here’s to raising super cool, God-fearing, successful and awesome kids.
Rock on moms.
We got this.