Sunday School

May 05, 2006

These are my kids and I love them! Most of the time I even like being with them. Especially on the happy days when ice cream solves all problems and relieves all tension.

But I often worry about them. What kind of world did we bring them into? How will they cope with all the crap that they will face in their life? Will they grow up to love God and follow in the way of Jesus?

What is my responsibility to direct them on that path? Is Sunday School the solution to moral instruction for my kids?

Sunday Schools started appearing in England around 1780. They were created to provide basic instruction to poor, working class people on their free day. They were not age or sex specific. They often used the Bible as a text, but the focus was not on Bible instruction.

The focus was on helping people on the margins of society to gain skills for life.

Bible instruction was seen as the responsibility of the parents.

It always has been that way. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 11:18,19)

So, what is Sunday School for today? I think that we could agree that basic instruction for the poor is not the goal. Perhaps religious knowledge is, especially since this component is largely absent from our school system.

But what about parental involvement?

I love it when other safe and caring adults take an active interest in the lives of my children. As the well used proverb states, “It takes the whole village to raise the child.”

But am I depending on someone else for the spiritual formation of my kids during one hour on Sunday morning? Do I simply use this ‘service’ to get some me-worship time?

Perhaps it is time for the church to shift its focus from teaching children to equipping parents to teach their own kids.

And it’s time for me to show my kids the way of Jesus. When I’m asleep, awake, at work and play – even while eating ice cream at McD’s.

2 Comments. Leave new

I hope that God graces us, as parents, with much humility, love and honesty as we teach our children about him. It’s a very scary responsibility for me, knowing that I as a parent don’t always have it together and still question. In an emergency, we’re told to put on the oxygen mask on ourselves first, then help our children. Does this apply? We can not teach our children truths that we have not yet experienced. Thank you, God, that you’ve given us your spirit to intervene.

I often wonder where it is we’re supposed to derive parenting wisdom from – and it seems that the bookstores are jam packed with books telling us how to do it right. Ryan recently said to me, “I’m so sick of trying to find out how to parent from reading books”. I guess because we only have a baby, we haven’t gotten to the nitty gritty of personality, discipline and such, but what we do now seems to me to be a precursor to what we’re going to be doing in a couple years’ time.

I love the idea we’ve been discussing on Sunday and Wednesday nights about treating kids, and other people who join us, like they’re already part of the kingdom. Something about that really rings true to me. I’d like to keep battling through that idea and see where it takes us.

Such delicious food for thought!!!

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