Sunday, February 5, 2017

To those around us in church

This is an open "thank you" to those that sit around us in church.

Thank you for your patience with us. We are a lot. We are three young kids and one mom in a pew because dad is up front in a robe or in the pulpit.

A few things upfront...

- We believe in keeping our children in church. They only learn how to behave if given the opportunity to practice.
- We believe in letting them go to Sunday School if they want to go.
- We believe in letting them decide when they are ready to go to church school or if it is a day they need to be near their mom. Kids are smart and only they know how they feel that day.
- We believe in teaching our boys how to sit respectfully in church. That being said, we also understand that they are 6, 3, and 1 years old and sometime it is hard to sit quietly.
- We believe in leaving the sanctuary if necessary, in order to maintain a certain atmosphere for others in worship.
- We don't allow screaming and crying, tantrums, or disrespect.
- We believe that some Sunday mornings just aren't going to be successful church mornings. The best way for kids to to learn to behave is to put them in situations where they can be successful. (Thanks for that lesson mom!) If someone is sick or I can feel that the energy is really stirred up, I believe that asking them to sit in church is just not an option.  Luckily, my husband respects my decision to keep everyone home if I feel it is warranted. We love to be in church, we love to listen to dad preach, we love to sing and take communion but there are mornings where we just can't make it. 

Thank you for your understanding. I do the very best I can to keep everyone happy and meet everyone's needs but sometimes I miss the mark. Sometimes, someone is fussy or out of sorts. Sometimes, someone can't keep their hands to themselves or for that matter, their feet, knees, or tongues off of their brother. This can cause a momentary ruckus.

Thank you for your ability to focus, despite our wiggling. Last week my 12 month old cruised back and forth on the pew smiling and cooing at everyone behind us. My three year old stood facing the pew looking at the hymnals and drawing on the bulletin but he was quiet. The six year old was oddly still, sitting and listening and taking in everything. We try not to be too distracting but I do know that sometimes people have to pay attention around our busy family.

Thank you for your flexibility. Sometimes, we have to do things a bit differently. My boys love to run up to the front of the church and look at the communion table or stand in the pulpit like daddy. We are continually seeking out the line between reverence and comfort in the church. I often stand in the aisle (off to the side) with the littlest. That sweet boy has never liked to sit and we are often able to squeak out a few extra quiet minutes if we are standing and doing the mom-sway. I almost always bring a whole apple for each of the older boys. They get it when the sermon starts and it gives them something to work on, keeps them from talking and keeps them from tussling. *Note that wipes are important if this is your tactic. I realize that this is unusual and sometimes food in the sanctuary is frowned upon, but thank you for understanding why I choose to do this.

Thank you for your help. Thank you for playing a game of peek-a-boo with the little ones and for picking up dropped, well, everything. People have handed us crayons, Hot Wheels, baa baa, slimy spoons, bulletins, blankies, you name it. At Patrick's candidating weekend, the senior pastor's wife handed us back, a previously mentioned, sucked on apple. This was the first time I had met her. Talk about brave. Thank you for helping me watch one of the big boys when someone has to run to the bathroom, for letting one or both of them sit with you in the pew, for making sure the oldest gets to Sunday School and picking him up afterwards, for zipping up jackets and tying shoes. Often I just need an extra set of hands for a quick task.

Most of all, thank you for loving our boys despite their noise, energy, mess, and enthusiasm. They ask to go to church and love to see everyone.

Parents of the preacher's kids