Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Response

I know lots of parents who struggle to keep their child non-disruptive during worship and many others who don't come to worship because of the added challenges worshiping with your kids brings with it.  And while there will always be many reasons that make staying home on a Sunday morning easier than getting up and getting the whole family to church, I still think it's a thing we need to do with our kids, mostly because I'm sold on the belief that "faith is caught; not taught."

It's with this in mind that when I came across this blog post the other day, I wanted to pass it on as encouragement for all of you...all of you who have to make choices every day about who and what will receive your time, energy, and money...all of you who are committed to passing on faith in Jesus to your kids...and all of you who seek to define what your family is about.

The Response by Michael Theisen from

"But I don’t feel like going to church this morning!”
What parent among us has not had to respond to that statement, or a form thereof? In fact, if we’re honest, what parent among us has not made that statement before? So let’s take a moment to reflect on the potential responses that lay before us…

We could use the authoritative reply, “Because I told you so, that’s why!” After all, it seemed to work with our parents and we turned out ok, for the most part.

We could select the bargaining response, a favorite in today’s consumer driven society, which takes the form of an if, then melody that sounds a little something like this, “If you get up now and go, then we’ll get that pair of jeans you’ve been wanting.” (or go out for that meal or you’ll get the chance to drive the car or watch that show or visit that friend, etc…).

Of course there is the other side of bargaining, called threatening, which takes the “if, then” refrain and adds some ominous overtones: “If you don’t get up now, then you’ll lose your screens for the rest of the day” (or be grounded, or burn in hell or something of the equivalent, although I personally have found that losing one’s screens for any amount appears worse that eternal damnation to most youth).

And there is the historical-critical method, less often selected because it takes a minimum of sixty minutes to complete the full analysis, which usually begins with, “Let me explain to you why we go to church and the significance it has upon not only us, but the collective and communal nature of the world and our relationship with the Triune God who first breathed life into the clay which He formed humankind from back in Genesis…”. Usually by Deuteronomy, the child gives in.

But there is another response parents might lean on, and it’s one that will actually benefit the entire family. It begins and ends with, “This is who we are, and this is what we do.” Of course, to get to the who-we-are part, we have to first make a conscious decision about who we are as a family, what motivates and moves us to action, what makes us tick, what is unique and special about our family, what role does God and faith play in all of this and perhaps most importantly, what does all this mean for us and the world in which we live.

In lay person’s terms this identification process is called a Mission Statement and it will serve as the saving Grace to any and all questions that contain the often queried refrain “Why do we…?”  Creating a Family Mission Statement is not a difficult process (ok, perhaps a bit time consuming, but if your family is given the choice between cleaning out the garage or creating a mission statement as your activity for the day, my bet is on the mission statement).

In fact, to make it even easier for you, there is a free pdf toolkit available online that will guide your family through a process where everyone participates, which is important so that everyone can own it and be responsible to it. It also allows each person to have a say in whether it gets hung in the kitchen or family room and which family picture gets to be used as the background and what color frame will look best and whether copies should be sent to everyone on the family’s Christmas card distribution list next December or just posted on the kids’ Facebook page when they aren’t looking.

But the best gift of all will come the next time someone in your family slips up and asks the WHY?!? question, and you lovingly point to the mission proudly mounted on the wall and simply remind them who they are.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips