Copyright notice: I have modified this only slightly from the post over at 5 pt. Salt, from a sermon by Dr. James White.
Dr. White gives the “tell it like it is” reasons why, if you are shopping for a local Christian fellowship, and thinking along the lines of the mainstream evangelical church, you may want to dismiss a Reformed Baptist Church — and our Home Church (which is not Reformed Baptist).
You don’t get to leave after every sermon feeling good about yourself. You may even (*gasp*) desire repentance.
You don’t get to hear the sermons in the same way you may be used to. It’s frequently verse by verse, maybe not even relevant to your current situation.
You don’t get to be entertained. We don’t want to entertain you.
You don’t get to go to church every weeknight for programs. We don’t have ‘em, and we don’t think you should dump your kids in a room for babysitting (however it is disguised).
You don’t get to be ‘lost in the crowd’. We tend to have accountability to one another.
You don’t get to hear social commentary. Sermons are mostly biblical and serious.
We’re not considered ‘seeker-friendly’. Here we differ from Dr. White a bit in theology, but the principle point stands: We don’t believe that is the purpose of a worship service, nor do we believe in compromising the message to make it ‘appealing’ to unbelievers.
You’re asked to apply the sermons to your life.
You’re asked to attend services regularly, to support your elders in prayer, and give sacrificially to the advance of the Gospel.
You will experience conviction of sin with regularity. You will also be frequently reminded of vital doctrines, without compromise.
The details are very well laid-out by Dr. White, and clarify these points greatly. I highly recommend that you go and listen to the whole message: Click here.
It’s nice to hear a pastor spell out so many of the things we feel strongly about!
We have had trouble finding a place where we feel comfortable. In many churches, there is a terrific theological alignment, but a disagreement over social and lifestyle issues. In other churches, we fit right in to the social norms, but there are doctrinal differences that we just can’t ignore.
I am attempting to present the ideas from a wide variety of denominations that we have encountered, which we found particularly valuable – or particularly troublesome. This will include any number of churches that we know we would never attend, and it not my intention to recommend them to you wholesale.
We’re piecing together the quilt of our Home Church belief system. You get a ringside seat for the process!
First, let me state that I have never been to a church service at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) church. All my observations about these issues are based on my experience of them as an outsider.
The LDS Church seems to place a lot of emphasis on two values that are near and dear to our hearts: Thrift / Preparedness and Community.
Policy encourages all members to have a Food Storage reserve in their home. This will allow them to survive any disaster – natural or social; there are guidelines for a three-month supply, and a one-year supply.
What a great policy! If something horrible happens, the only groups likely to be able to hang in there are the Amish and the Mormons!
And, vitally, it isn’t just talk, or a “command from on high” – they’re actively involved in making it happen.
They have “Canneries” set up all over the country – they seem to be going more by names like “Family Home Storage Center” these days. At any rate, church members can order bulk products through there at amazing prices (wheat, oats, rice, pasta, dried milk, beans, etc.). They can get large quantities, or they can go there and use the facility to can those products into more manageable quantities.
The best part is that non-members can order the bulk items, too! The policies shift over time, and vary slightly by location. Some times or places you need to be accompanied by a church member. When I recently ordered, their policy was that I could order the large bulk items, but would need to come as a guest (with a member) if I wanted to do canning (which is also booked 6 months ahead).
[As a side note, this is similar to the benefits we can reap as non-members from being allowed to use the vast genealogy resource libraries that the LDS Church has created.]
I have not looked into it a great deal, but passing comments have led me to believe that some (many?) of the products are grown and packaged all within the church. What an accomplishment!
Some people may wish to argue that this is not trusting in God for our daily bread. On the contrary, I believe absolutely it is being a good steward of the bread He does provide. The Israelites and their manna was a single very specific situation, and a specific lesson for them. Are the chipmunk and the ant doing wrong by storing food for the winter? No. It is the natural order – harvest in season, and preserve the bounty for the lean times.
Several of my favorite cooking and food storage blogs, as it happens, are based on rotating and cooking with your food storage, from some delightful Mormon ladies.
They have an offshoot of this which I believe is referred to as the “Bishop’s Storehouse,” which functions as a food pantry for those local church members experiencing challenges.
And when we went to pick up the bulk order a couple of weeks ago? Right there in the same building was an sign indicating that it was the home of the job placement assistance office!
For me/us, it seems like the modern “Mainstream Evangelical Church” has gotten a little preoccupied with evangelism.
Please don’t even start to tell me how important it is, or that Christ commanded it. I’m in no way denying or belittling that.
But Christ spent a lot more time telling the church to take care of one another. Feed My sheep. Bear one another’s burdens.
If we started by strengthening the church body, and supporting one another, we would be stronger and better able to spread the Good News!
So our Home Church’s belief system includes the idea that it is good stewardship to be prepared for what the broken world may have in store, as well as the oft-mentioned idea that the church should be extremely supportive and communal.
I received the following comment on my posts on my posts on “things we learned while moving” (see Post #1 and Post #2):
Anne says -
Maybe the lesson is in reciprocity. What have you done for people locally in the personal sense? Whom have you helped move? I know you have young kids, but everyone has something. If you don’t put yourself out there to help others, don’t be surprised if they don’t put themselves out there for you.
I started to answer several times, focusing on various aspect of the topic that she raised. Finally, I decided it would be easier to make it a post of its own.
The first point is just sort of a detail:
The entire point of the second post (where the comment was actually left), is that I am not connected to people locally.
So, yeah. I haven’t heard of anyone moving, for instance…
The second thing I started thinking was a silly desire to defend myself from what felt like an unjust attack:
No, I haven’t helped anyone move (see above), but we do help people.
I volunteered in the church nursery all last year, I taught at VBS this summer, Wolf has helped several guys with their car problems, Nick serves with youth ministry projects, we donate our hand-me-downs to worthy causes…
But wait a minute, I don’t need to justify myself! That’s the whole point (or two). The third thought that started developing was that that attitude is WRONG!
In fact, I think that attitude is perhaps at the very core of the problem!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not at all saying that I don’t need to give, do, or help. Of course I do! The Bible says so!
BUT, this is about the Church, not a business venture.
Did somebody check to see if I had deposited enough hours in the “volunteer bank” to be considered worthy of making a withdrawal (getting help moving)? Had I earned it?
It says, “bearing one another’s burdens in love” … Not, “helping bear the burdens of people you think are cool, who have previously helped you bear your burdens”.
Which leads right in to the fourth thought:
What truth there is the idea of “reciprocity”, it’s still supposed to be… well, not “reciprocity” per se.
“Pay it Forward” is better. Sure, do good. But not back to the person who helped you out.
If you get the praises of man for your good deed, then you’ve had your reward, and the Father will not reward you!
So unless I have helped you move, you probably don’t know much about the service that I have done. (I didn’t even list those types of things in my first point above, and it’s one reason I didn’t go out of the way to mention the names of the folks who helped us with the move.)
“Reciprocity” reminds me of the recipe for failure in the popular and true adage about marriage:
50/50 will never work. It has to be 100/100.
We are the Body of Christ.
Had any of the people that Christ healed helped Him out previously?
Were most of them probably “worthy” of His time and assistance?
I started this post long ago, with the title of “Denomination Dilema.”
As our current situation reveals – and the Holding Up Our Sign series shows – this entire issue has come to a head since then.
So some of this may be slightly repetitive of other posts I’ve written recently. But since I really only addressed our essential agreement with the doctrines of the Southern Baptists, I thought it important to clarify where it is that we differ from them – why we aren’t simply attending a Southern Baptist church.
For the record, the church where we are currently still members (not quite knowing how to approach that), as well as the previous four churches where we held membership (going back prior to the beginning of our marriage), have been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Also, just to reiterate – Wolf and I are of one mind on these issues, and he is the spiritual head of our family, no question. I blog as “I, Tiffany,” for the sake of clarity, and of course also to avoid the possibility of wrongly attributing something to him in the details of our individual personalities and opinions.
The reason we most commonly end up at Baptist churches is manifold, but has not proven entirely satisfactory over the last few years, either.
Doctrinally, I have found myself in agreement with the Southern Baptist and Independent Baptist churches. Bible believing, Bible teaching, Trinity, non-Charismatic, etc. (See my post Theologically Baptist-ish)
Baptist churches tend to have programs I like for the kids, such as AWANA.
Easy to find one. Or six.
A larger church has more resources for things like the AWANA programs, youth (youth is a whole separate issue now, but in the past that did influence my thinking in that way), etc. And (see above) there’s typically a big Baptist church (or six) around…
But more and more, I have grown to feel out of place in Southern Baptist churches. Here are the two biggest reasons why:
Our dress clearly sets us apart. While I’m used to being “odd” in the world (aka “set apart”), it seems a little odd to be so “odd” among the people who are supposed to be walking the same path as us. (Please know that I do understand that we’re all at different places on the path – this isn’t about that).
I wouldn’t mind particularly, for instance, if other women in the church didn’t wear headcoverings. Or if there was not agreement about whether short sleeves versus 3/4 sleeves were modest, or how many inches below the knee your skirt needed to be. This issue isn’t a legalistic one.
I do mind when women wear (to church, no less!) skirts that are so short and tight I can’t imagine how they even sit down, or blouses so loose and low-cut they have to cover their chest with their hand when they lean over to get their purse (at least they know to do that!), jeans so tight you can (yeah, never mind), or those patent-leather stiletto heels … and worse, all those things on their pre-teen daughters!
Again, I’m not talking about the visitor or seeker, nor addressing women who may not have or be able to afford anything else. This is about women who are long-time, active members of the church, comfortably affluent, and choosing to wear that type of clothing – and dress their daughters in it.
I don’t want to feel like they should be handing out blinders to the men along with a worship guide as they enter the sanctuary. It does not glorify God, and it certainly does not help our brothers in Christ to focus on Him.
We like our kids.
I enjoy being with my kids. And I feel very strongly about my Biblically mandated parental responsibilities.
I want to keep my babies with me, to cuddle and nurse and change when any of those are needed. And I want my family together during the worship service, so that the children can learn how to worship corporately as they grow into that role.
I have no particular problem with everyone also going to a Sunday School class, and studying the Word in an age-appropriate context. But I do not want to force my young ones to separate from me if they are not comfortable with that – regardless of their age (I feel that is counterproductive on many levels). Furthermore, experience has led me to believe that “small groups” are a much more effective means of study, fellowship, and accountability for adults (and families). And of course children can and should be taught by their parents, so “Sunday School” is just a fun diversion for them.
Most of the mainstream Baptist churches (Southern or Independent) don’t seem to “get” this, at all.
They may or may not have a “nursing room” (when they do it’s often basically a closet), but have no “cry room” or “family nursery” where we can be together and still hear/see the worship service, if a fussy baby means we need to leave the sanctuary. (This has resulted in a lot of service times spent walking the halls with a little one).
Children are simply not, by and large, encouraged in the worship services.
They don’t want me to bring the little ones to a “women’s” or “couples” Sunday School hour. And, oddly, most of them are not on-board with the idea of me staying with my youngest in his designated Sunday School “class”. (This has resulted in a lot of Sunday School times spent walking the halls with a little one).
You know, walking the halls with my little one isn’t fun. And it isn’t worship, or fellowship, or learning, or anything else. I might as well stay home…
Which started happening more and more often.
Which was a big red flag that there was a problem with our “fit” in those churches’ belief system.
Once noticed, you can see this thought system in everything they do.
One recent example which was pointed out to me very clearly: A Cubbies AWANA program for three year-olds shouldn’t be two hours long. Who in the world would think you should make something for that age group that long? Ah – someone who is really only envisioning it as a babysitting program, which needs to occupy the “little nuisances” while mom and dad go to the Sunday evening adult activities, which are two hours long.
I feel like I need to write this post because of the principles it reflects. It is certainly not my intent to hurt or offend anyone, and please know that this is not intended as a criticism or attack on any person or people beyond looking at “we as a society” and “we as the Body of Christ.”
All my life, I’ve heard people say,
When you move, you find out who your friends are.
…but it has never hit home for me as much as it has over the last couple of weeks.
Because, yeah, we moved. Locally, which is sometimes harder — as now, because it drags on, and on, and on.
Wolf made the decision to move, signed the lease, then left for a two-week Reserves duty in northern Mississippi. So I was supposed to pack and get ready. Yikes!
When he came home, we had a week until the day we’d declared “Moving Day” and scheduled to rent a truck.
On a couple of occasions, we had the blessing of borrowing a trailer from Helper #1 – a homeschool mama (family, of course) that I know only casually from our homeschool co-op. This allowed us to move some bookshelves over, which we then filled with books and had empty boxes to re-use.
When Moving Day arrived (Saturday), so did Tropical Storm Lee. And in spite of everyone’s apparent bafflement, we still moved. I had given notice, you see, and they didn’t care about the weather. I simply can’t afford to pay anymore days of rent on two homes!
We had assistance from Helpers #2 and #3, friends from Wolf’s job, and Helper #4, the husband of someone else I know casually through a homeschool group.
Two days later, still with the moving truck, thanks to the long weekend, we were trying to make a final trip to get all the odds and ends, then return it with a load of stuff that was going into our storage unit (conveniently, the location from which the truck came).
We were beyond exhausted, the kids were totally frazzled, I was injured in several places and had a week-long migraine… Just another fun move, eh? I tossed a desperate plea out to Facebook from my phone, asking if anyone could spare an hour or two to help Wolf unload — Nick had homework due the next day, and I was trying to wrestle Littles, leaving him solo.
Helper #5 showed up as a family. A sweet woman I know only casually from the homeschool co-op arrived with dinner in hand – a huge blessing we didn’t even know we needed. She rolled out some shelf liners in my kitchen while her husband helped Wolf finish unloading. And then they drove back to the old house with us to load the storage stuff. And THEN they drove with us to the storage to unload it! We tried to get them to go home (they had their young children with them, too), but they insisted. Bless their hearts!
After a day of comatose exhaustion, we spent the next week (well, around Wolf working and Nick going to school) trying to round up all the actual “last little things,” as well as cleaning the old house (including renting a carpet cleaner as required by the lease, disassembling our garden stuff and the tree-house in the back yard, etc.)
The final weekend, last weekend, we were still very much behind the curve. I’m not entirely sure why this move was so hard for us, but we were really in bad shape.
What a blessing when a young man formerly from Nick’s youth group said that he would be in town (from college an hour away), and he brought over his lawn-mower and weed-eater (and a friend) and took care of the yard. Helper #6 (does the lawnmower count as a separate helper?!).
So, I got to thinking…
We were members of and attended one church for almost an entire year after coming to Biloxi. We have been attending another church for a couple of months now, and feel like we have ties with the people there on many levels.
Number of Move Helpers who are from either of those churches? Zero.
Even in the “talk is cheap” department:
I had numerous long-distance friends on Facebook (as well as out of state family) express their wish that they were close enough to be able to help. But we had only one person from one of “our” two churches express regret that they were unable to help (with a quite legitimate reason), and offer us the service of their teenage son.
Did we go around pleading with individuals, or trying to “sign them up?” No. But any number of church members from both churches saw it on Facebook, and Wolf was at “our new church” and discussed it the Sunday before our Moving Day, so it’s not like it was a secret.
Look, I know people are busy. Like I said, I’m not trying to say that any certain person should have helped us. I certainly don’t feel like we’re somehow entitled to help. And I know that “the new church” had a picnic type event already scheduled for that Saturday; although that was presumably rained out, I understand that they might have felt committed that day.
Just a general observation.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
~ Galatians 6:2
Wolf and I have often worked towards developing more service oriented groups and projects at the churches we attend (and doing such things on our own). We are firmly committed to the idea that the church should be a community, doing more to serve the Body than just bring a casserole after a family has a new baby (and fewer and fewer churches even do that!)…
We are the Body of Christ.
Of course, one of my favorite bands has something to say on this very topic:
So, if we are the Body…
Why aren’t we fixing the leaky roof for that elderly lady?
Why aren’t we inviting those folks who are between jobs over for dinner?
Why aren’t we clearing the yard for that sweet older man?
Why aren’t we taking that new young mother out to the park for a moment of relative peace?
And sure: Why aren’t we helping a family move?
This isn’t about charity to the world at large.
In the most specific sense, this is about those people sitting in the pew next to you week in and week out.
Do you even know what their burdens are?
Are you helping to bear them?
Wolf pointed out that the service-oriented Christians we know often say that they don’t, in fact, even bother to “offer to help” or “ask if someone needs help.” Too often other issues will get in the way. They simply see a need, and step in and take action to meet it. His Hands…
The love of Christ was so bright and lovely in those who came and helped us bear this burden. All the more, perhaps, because they weren’t “close friends”, and could just as easily have decided they “didn’t have to get involved”. I thank God for sending them, and for their beautiful witness.
My daughter enjoyed Cubbies for her three-year-old year at our then-church, and we missed it a lot when we were at a church using a different program last year. So when we moved this year we made sure to find a church that had a Sparks club for her to join (now that she’s five).
We have been diligent about working on her lesson each week, and she memorizes her verses incredibly well (if I do say so myself!).
Last Sunday she came home from club very excited, because she had “earned” her wings and her first (red) jewel. I was puzzled, since I knew that was still a few lessons away from where we were working.
My husband, grim faced, explained more to me later (I am home with our youngest while he takes the “big kids” to church Sunday nights).
It seems that my daughter was pushed though “memorizing” and parroting back THREE verses during class time to earn that jewel, so that she could be more “caught up” with other kids (who have already been doing this)… Many already have several jewels, and a several kids were recognized at awards time for having finished their book already!!
Let’s be clear: It was nine weeks into the AWANA year, and Jewel had worked on and memorized lesson nine. They had her also “do” lessons ten, eleven, and twelve.
I was heartbroken.
I enjoy the AWANA curriculum. We like working through one lesson each week, dwelling in the Word and learning a verse. And I would assume the AWANA teachers would also be reinforcing that lesson in class.
Obviously, when you’re racing to earn your awards and finish your book, you are not actually hiding the word in your heart. Jewel can tell me the verse from lesson nine, but has no idea what those from lessons ten, eleven and twelve were.
This is not discipleship for our children, this is some kid of worldly achievement competition!
Sadly, it seems to be the whole AWANA program at this church, as the club leadership was involved in saluting the kids who had already finished books, and holding them up as examples.
I didn’t stop to think that I needed to “church shop” for an AWANA program. Silly me, I assumed that with such a structured curriculum, the experience would be pretty similar from place to place.
And what now? If the AWANA program was a big part of the reason we are at this church, and now I need to be taking Jewel to a program somewhere else…
I am not trying to put everyone into the same mold as me, but I think God expects our best.
How many of you just said, “yeah, of course He does”?
Well, I don’t think we are giving it.
I know that we are all in a fallen world, and we are sinners, and, and, and… How we can strive to be better through all that is definitely material for plenty of other posts, but what about one “simple” specific example:
What about on Sunday in church?
That is our one time to shine and put our best foot forward. We can take one day out of the week to really give it our all in all the little ways that make a difference.
Instead we look for somewhere to “be ourselves”. Where we don’t have to behave according to others’ opinions. We try to find a church that will accept us for whatever we are the other six days of the week.
And the church is trying so hard to get people to come to service and “be comfortable” in worship that they have begun to accept a little more, and a little more.
I absolutely agree that we should accept people for what they are, but we should not keep it a secret that God is in charge and we are presenting ourselves to Him and He has higher standards. Higher standards than blue jeans and flip-flops.
We could take this down a dozen other trails from here, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to start with this. We are presenting ourselves to God, to worship Him. We aren’t going down the street to meet our buddies.
A personal relationship with Christ doesn’t mean he’s your drinking buddy.
He’s still God.
Maybe you don’t have a suit or even a tie. But I do really think that we owe God at least as much respect as we show to…
A potential boss when we go for a job interview.
Or that “special someone” of the opposite gender who we want to impress at a nice dinner.
Even a judge who is going to condem us for parking too close to a fire hydrant.
If we are going to be putting our best foot forward at any time, for anyone, shouldn’t God be on that list?
Jewel attends Mission Friends on Wednesday nights at church, right after the Children’s Choir rehearses. She really enjoys her class.
Her teacher, “Ms. Elizabeth” (have I mentioned my frustration with children’s casual address of adults?), is wonderful… but now on an extended leave of absence. She also teaches preschool, and is taking a continuing education course that runs through December.
I didn’t find this out until the first week she was gone – two classes ago, when I noticed one of the Children’s Ministry staffers and one of the youth workers scrambling around in the supply cupboard, trying to put a lesson together.
Gritting my teeth, I emailed the Director and offered to take the class… as long as we could work out a few things:
Wolf, R.T. and I will be team teaching. As much as I want to help Jewel and the big kids, I won’t do it at R.T.’s expense.
We will be adding a Bible Verse memorization program, which Mission Friends does not have.
The Director decided it was time to take the overdue step of splitting up the class. I will have a smaller group, and only 4′s and 5′s. (The 3′s will go into a younger class, to which they will add the 2′s that were in nursery care).
By the time everything was settled it was Wendesday afternoon, and suddenly I was the one scrambling around trying to put a lesson together at the last minute.
So my first session as Mission Friends teacher was frought with challenges.
I was uneasy because I didn’t have everything well-prepared, well in advance. This just goes totally against my nature.
The kids seemed to be unaware that Ms. Elizabeth was not going to be there, and were extra goofy and rowdy with a “substitute”.
I am not called or gifted in the area of teaching kids. A formal classroom setting with a group of same-age kids is a world apart from educating your own children at home.
The “Mission Friends” curriculum would not be my choice. It lacks a memorization component, which I think is essential. I also think (and watching thm last week reinforced this) that at this age kids need more emphasis on loving one another, obeying, Jesus loves me, and helping in tangible local ways… not hearing about strange people (the missionaries!) in strange places – abstract concepts that aren’t really getting through.
And of course, it’s a biggie.
There is nobody else.
If I/we don’t take the class, they will struggle through the next nine weeks with an assortment of the teenagers paid as nursery help trying to make it up as they go.
I’m working on the theory that
God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.
I hope this holds true even if I am only “called” by necessity, rather than a spiritual calling.
What would you say if someone asked you to do something that you found morally repugnant, and furthermore something that troubled you deeply on an emotional level?
Of course you’d say NO!
But, they argue, by doing this you are performing a service to many of your fellows!
Sorry, no. Right?
And what if the “someone” asking you was your church?
And no, we’re not talking about a weird cult. We’re talking about…
As part of this service to our church body, I am expected to (on a regular basis) peel a child off their mother and hold them, kicking and screaming, while she leaves.
I don’t want to be the instrument of pain to that child. I wouldn’t hit or push or pinch a child and make them cry, for goodness’ sake. It ties my stomach in knots when they wail and desperately cling onto their mama, and I’m supposed to yank them away and restrain them.
And furthermore, I fundamentally believe that that is a very wrong thing to do, even if you aren’t personally as squeamish about it as I am. I believe that it is potentially damaging to little psyches, who learn that mama and papa don’t respond if they’re upset, can’t be relied upon to be there for them, and generally don’t care.
I know that society today consoles itself with the idea that children “need to learn how to be independent”. Techniques such as this have been popularized along with “cry it out”, sleeping alone, and the like. Historically, however, this is not how human babies have been nurtured, and even modern science reveals some startling evidence for attached parenting (check out Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping by Dr. James McKenna – a MUST READ for every parent!).
As I’m sure you realize, there are a lot of Bible verses on parenting… Like here, in the Old Testament, straight from the heart of the Shema:
And thou shalt teach them [Laws] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
- Deuteronomy 6:7
But nowhere in the Bible do I find parents called to turn over the responsibility for their children to someone else. Nowhere is there a Proverb about how to get rid of the kids and get some “quality time” to yourself.
In fact, in the New Testament we find this:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
- Ephesians 6:4
Which clearly, to me, says that – at least sometimes – people need to engage in that “parenting in the pew” rather than leaving hysterical children in the care of someone else.
The nurture of the Lord.
Isn’t that a beautiful picture?
When you call out in need – “Abba, Father!” is it your expectation, or even your fear, that God will shove you off His leg and run out of the room, so that He can go attend a worship service?
That’s not a pretty picture!
Children grow up. They just do.
They develop independece in their own good time, as God designed them.
I would like at this time, as a bit of anecdotal evidence, to refer you to my post A Little Validation on our Life on the Road family blog. In part, I observed:
I have been delighted lately to have had not one but several women who teach Jewel’s age group make a point of coming up and talking to me about her.
“She’s always so happy!”
“She’s an eager participant, and a delight to have in class!”
“She never cries and makes a fuss when you drop her off.”
What a joy!
Of course, I’m not shy in pointing out that the reason she is so secure as a 4 year-old is because I made her feel secure as a 1 year-old, 2 year-old, and 3 year-old by never forcing her to stay alone in the nursery. She has a secure base from which to explore the world at her own pace, and trusts that I will always be there if there was a problem.
Which brings me back to my dilema of being an enabler of this poor treatment of children, by volunteering in the nursery.
On top of all of that, having my own child(ren) present means that they are witnessing this drama, and – beyond the inevitable upset that starts all the children chain-reaction crying – they are learning the obvious lesson that such behavior is acceptable, normal, and approved-of by me.
That’s not the way I treat my children, and it’s not the way I want them to treat my grandchildren.