I sent the little kids outside yesterday morning to pick up up the trash in the driveway from our 4th of July fireworks.* When I went outside to see how they were doing this is what I found.
Of course it went up on Facebook immediately. And Twitter. “This is what happens when you send the pastor’s kids out to clean up the trash from the fireworks.” And now it’s a blog post. As one does.
My kids are at church a lot. A whole lot. Maybe even more Sunday mornings than I am since even when I’m on vacation in town they still go to worship. I know we are not the norm; it’s comes with the territory of having a mom who is a pastor and a dad who was ordained as an elder at 17. We’re really into church.
I’ve wondered here and there over the years if we are setting them up to resent church and faith and even God. I’ve wondered if they will be angry that they spent so much time in churches over the years – in worship, in Sunday School, waiting during a meeting, sitting through a meeting, special concerts, seasonal services, and on and on and on.
Then I hear my then-4 year old ask her grandmother to make a stole for her which she then proceeds to wear to preschool. Or the rising 6th grader begs to go to the combined middle school, high school, and college Bible study on the first Wednesday of summer break after she finishes 5th grade. I know things won’t always be this way as they are growing up. I’m sure at some point we’ll have to navigate the priority of Sunday mornings more than we already have with a couple of karate tournaments and sleepovers. But for now I’m not going to wonder if they’re at church too much.
Because they’re paying attention. Whether it’s obvious or not – because yes, we’re the parents that let them play Minecraft during the sermon or read novels about tribes of anthropomorphic cats (I don’t understand it either) – they are paying attention to what is going on. They are hearing the words. They are learning the rhythms. They are absorbing the traditions and symbols and rituals.
And I have to believe, if they thought enough to put ash to forehead with the sign of the cross they even know to whom they belong. They are paying attention. Thank God. They are paying attention.
*Yes, we do some sparklers and small fireworks – the legal and safer ones, because in Wisconsin there are legal and not-so-safe ones. We finish before 10:00 p.m., nothing crazy loud, some tanks, some fountains, some sparklers. The end.