Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Uncategorized

When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it (3 of 6)

This is part 3 of 6 of When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? Begin this subject HERE or revisit the LAST POST.


NO!

No, I did not do that. You know why I didn’t kick that child out of my class? Because you don’t teach a child by removing them from the classroom. I would have him immediately apologize to the child. I would inspect the “hurt” child in front of him and see that they were fine and put that child on a task. I would talk it out with him away from the other children, not embarrassing him. I would be firm and say, “We do not hit. Ever. If someone in this classroom hurts you or upsets you, you tell me. I will protect you and be by your side if something is wrong. If you don’t understand or you’re angry, you do not hit. You talk to me.” Between my being firm and my providing him a place where he felt safe – where he didn’t have to protect himself, he was able to just… be. He never hit a third time in my class.


This brings me to other children. I had some children that needed validation so they may be my helper for the evening. I had some children who were desperate to talk and show off how smart they were so they make it to read or act out a part of the Bible. I had some that were overly excited and had a lot to say so they sat in my lap and helped me from there. Why? Because he needed a little extra attention and I didn’t want him to distract the entire class. I would find myself saying things like, “Tell Mrs. Erin in her ear while the others work on their project.”


Never… not once… did I ever send for a parent. Ever. The thought never crossed my mind. I was a youth leader on Wednesday nights and kept children from infant to fifth grade on Sunday nights for at least 13 years. I never in that entire time called a parent. Further, it would have never even occurred to me to ask that a child be removed from the classroom or nursery. I remember separating a biter in the nursery and – after church at pick up – speaking to the mom and saying gently, “We’re going to work on not biting.” I remember being on a youth trip and the youth pastor and I pulling a kid aside and saying, “I know you have a smoking problem at home but you won’t be smoking on this three day trip. If you do, you’ll be sent home immediately and the cost will go to your mom.” Do you know? I don’t even remember putting a child in time out?

 

Who needs to be REMOVED from hearing about the word of God? 

Who needs to be REMOVED from hearing about the word of God?

Isn’t that counterproductive?! I mean… if we’re not to expect the unbeliever to act as believers, if we know we’re all lost without Christ, if we know that it’s the direction of the Holy Spirit residing within us that directs our path in the way in which we should go… then wouldn’t it stand to serve that we should be collecting everyone regardless of age and clutching them as close to the Word as possible? One would certainly think. I mean that’s fairly logical. Right? I mean… I am going on basic logic and Biblical knowledge here. I have had no formal training in either child rearing nor childhood education. I’m simply a mom.

Yet…what do we see in The Church now? We see our children being assigned numbers in order that a parent could see it flashed across a screen if they’re needed. Of course this is a great way of getting a parent’s attention if the child has gotten injured or something. (We just used to use ushers, though.) I mean: exactly how many parent-retrieving-worthy injuries do you really think are going on? Not enough to need a flash-the-number system, I assure you. No. As sad as it is, we have parents being called out of church because of the behavior of their child. As mind-blowing as this may be to some of you (and I hope it is) we even have children being removed from the classroom because of their behavior, some of them even indefinitely until a time for them to be reevaluated in the future. This is happening…in The. Church. Today.

This is hard for me because my two children span the spectrum. Seriously. My daughter was the perfect child. She was the most well behaved, intuitive, intelligent, respectful little girl you would have ever met. Everyone loved her – teachers, elders, peers,… everyone. Then… I had my son. I often joke that God had me wait 15 years because I needed to store up the patience necessary to raise him.


Quick rundown on the way we parent in my house: Biblically, with consistency, we give no slack because therein lies the path to madness, and we do our very best to love far more than we discipline. This means that if we’re disciplining hourly, there’s a lot of love that has to be given to balance that. There is no spoiling in my house. My children get no quarter with me. My “no” means “no” and that is the end of it. My children know where the rubber meets the road with me no matter how “cool” I may seem. I’m all kinds of cool and fun until you cross me or my rules. I do believe in spare the rod spoil the child [Proverbs 13:24]. (But don’t send me emails or nasty responses because I know that there is an exception to every rule and that that verse in the Bible may not apply to a child who has had a horrific experience in their past. I’m only referring to my children).


Now, that being said, my son is hell on wheels. Seriously. He’s headstrong, strong-willed, stubborn, and to make it all worse… he’s unbelievably intelligent. He’s going into kindergarten and reads at a 3rd grade level. Smart + Strong-willed = I think I know everything and far better than you…. which subsequently = a lot of discipline. He’s truly very smart and imaginative but thinks he knows everything and has the self control that most five year old boys have which means he has very little. He can’t seem to control his mouth and he’s excited about life in general. I’m well aware of the child that is my son.


So, if you thought this was where I was going to tell you how horribly misunderstood my child has always been in class, you’re wrong. Again, I’m aware of who he is and what he’s capable of. No. This is where I tell you that every single teacher he has ever had has been met by myself and my husband, we have told she or he that we are on their team and want our son to get the most he can out of their class while behaving appropriately, and have made ourselves readily available to them. This is also where I tell you that we have had experiences ranging in “Wow. That just happened.” to “Oh my dear Heavenly Father, tell me that did not just happen in the house of God.” I kid you not. At times it’s been a revelation and aweing. At other times, however, it was heart-wrenching and astounding in its hurtfulness.


Check back tomorrow when I’ll share with you the heartache we experienced…along with the hope. 

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