kid lighting candles in church
Sunday Schooled

I Take My Kids to Church to Confuse the Crap out of Them

We parents sometimes get caught up in the fact that our kids are sweet, adorable little muffins. I like to remind myself my job is to raise adults who thrive and don’t live in my basement.

Part of this for me means taking them to church.

I’ll be the first to admit it—I’m a tree-hugging liberal, so I don’t talk church much in my circles, but it doesn’t mean I’m afraid to. It just means I know what works for me, and I wholly respect what works for others.

Because I go to church doesn’t mean I’ve got this all figured out. My faith waivers so much it’s like I’m standing in a kayak on the Niagara most days.

Life and this world in general is such a mystery to me, but I refuse to step away from the conversation simply because it feels so enormous. I stay at the table that is church with my brow furrowed most Sundays, intrigued by all the beauty and confusion.

My kids ask me questions about things we learn at church, and most times I don’t have the answers. I don’t pretend to have the answers. I tell them God and religion is such a huge delicious puzzle that I bet we don’t even have words to truly describe it all.

I take my kids to church to confuse the crap out of them because it’s good for them, I suppose.

Why not challenge their little self-absorbed minds with big thinking?

Why not instill them with the confidence that they are part of something truly miraculous and amazing and not just a Pop-Tart-eating, fart-joke-telling universe they’re interested in?

Yes, I drag them to church, but I don’t force-feed beliefs to them. Rather, I expose them to faith and let them decide for themselves when they’re older.

Maybe none of it will come to fruition, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.

If they choose to be atheists one day, it will be only after being humble enough to hear all other arguments and making room for them.

I take my kids to church because I see teenage kids who are so stuck in their own heads. They have no connection to their spirit or anything bigger than themselves, and that self-imposed prison scares the hell out of me.

I want my kids to have the vulnerability to pray or meditate and to ask for help. I want them to feel control over their emotions and a connection to nature and other humans.

There is no guarantee church will deliver this, but it’s a good start for me. It’s a good start along with long walks in nature, letting them be bored and not letting them be constantly entertained and catered to.

Let me tell you, my kids fuss and fight when I tell them we’re going to church. They’re normal young kids who’d rather stay home and watch TV, but I’m their mom and not their friend.

My focus is on the non-turd adults I wish for them to be.

When they’re teens and struggling with adjusting to life, I want them to pray.

When they’re adults and struggling with bills, marriage, and jobs, I want them to pray.

When I’m gone and only in their hearts, I want them to talk to me and not feel foolish about it.

I have a tall order of what I want going to church to do for my kids. Maybe none of it will come to fruition, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.

Why not challenge their little self-absorbed minds with big thinking?

Last Sunday at church, I looked down and my kids were looking at the floor, their hands folded in prayer, and as I bowed my head I only pretended to pray. How could I pray when such beauty was right before me? I stared at these little creatures who seemed to actually be picking up a little bit of what I was offering to them.

I doubt they were actually praying, but they were at least comfortable to go through the motions. It meant they were obeying. It meant they were respecting. Mama likes these things.

The truth is, when I ask them what they pray for, they say for more stuffed animals or that their dead dog is happy, but I’ll take it.

We keep our prayer simple at night. We say, “God, thank you for today.” It’s a quick little reminder to be grateful for this mind-boggling mystery. Maybe humility might sneak into their skin if we keep at it.

There is no guarantee they will be teenagers who don’t get lost in their own heads or that they’ll even have any sort of faith one day.

In fact, there are no guarantees in life, but I have to have faith that gathering as a family, bowing our heads together and saying, “Peace be with you” to our neighbors can lead to more good things than bad.

This article was syndicated from Jagged Journey.

Read More